Back In The USSR Timeline Part 25 — Sanctions
The word “sanction” has been part of America’s vocabulary ever since Trump. Russia’s main objective in getting Trump elected was to get sanctions lifted. That, and Putin wanted to rule the world. 11 minutes into the inauguration, Mike Flynn texted somebody to say, “Good to go” regarding lifting Russian sanctions. As soon as Trump was elected he told the state department to lift sanctions on Russia and the state department said no which was a big surprise to Trump. He thought he was king of the world, second only to Putin.
What’s a sanction? If you’re a parent it means taking your tween’s phone away until they get it together. If you’re a bar drinker it means getting 86’d if you get too wasted so you don’t crash your car on the way home. If you’re Russia, it means getting cut off from doing business with the US over human rights abuses, torture and murder, attacking Ukraine, and for cyber attacks on US elections.
Six months after the inauguration, Putin’s Puppet and Sideshow Rex (Rex Tillerson, the most inexperienced, unprepared secretary of state in US history,) met with the puppet master, Putin for 2 hours in private. The Russian media said they talked about Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and cyber security. Sideshow Rex, the former CEO of Exxon and Putin’s buddy, said the US needed to “restore” trust with Russia. He wanted those sanctions lifted because he wanted Russia’s oil. In November of 2017 Sideshow Rex dissolved the sanctions office.
Congress imposed sanctions on Russia but Trump ignored Congress and then Congress ignored Trump.
Putin said the sanctions were illegal and that the election probe was “anti-Russia hysteria.”
Trump eventually signed the Russian sanctions bill quietly without any fanfare and without making any statements against Russia. He bashed Congress for making him do it. The bill targeted the Russian mining and oil industry, punished Putin for interfering with our election, and smacked Russia for its military aggression in Ukraine. Trump said it was unconstitutional which made everbody cringe because everybody knows Trump has no idea what’s in the Constitution.
After Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s visit to Moscow on July 4th he came back to America and said it was time to evaluate lifting sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea because sanctions don’t change Moscow’s behavior and the US has been cut out of Russian deals. Same with Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He too went to Moscow and came back saying it’s time to lift sanctions. He, together with Kentucky’s other senator, Mitch McConnell advocated for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and his company, Rusal, to be removed from the sanctions list which he was on for Russia hacking the 2016 election. In return, Deripaska invested $200 million in a new aluminum plant in Kentucky, the largest aluminum plant built in the US in 40 years. Interesting side note: Mitch McConnell got a $3.5 million cash gift from Oleg Deripaska’s business partner, Len Blavatnik, for his “Senate Leadership Fund” in 2015.
Trump’s treasury secretary, American oligarch Steve Mnuchin, gave a BS story to Congress on why he lifted sanctions on Oleg Deripaska. The real story was he was being paid by Putin ($10 million a year) to promote Putin’s government around the world. He and Paul Manafort did business together. When Paul Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager, he’d brief him on the campaign. After the election Mnuchin was given a job in Trump’s cabinet. 3 of Oleg Deripaska’s businesses got freed from sanctions. 42 Republican senators went along with it. Among them were Richard Burr, Lindsey Graham, and Rob Portman, all senators who once watched Russia like hawks. Russian state television recognized all of the US Senators who voted for lifting sanctions by airing their faces and names. Among them were Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and John Thune.
Trump’s secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross had business ties that he never disclosed with Russian shipping and energy companies and a sanctioned Russian oligarch, Gennady Timchenko plus Putin’s son in law, Kirill Shamalov.
Trump promised the Russians that he’d lift the sanctions put upon them by the Magnitsky Act that froze offshore assets where oligarchs hid their money and banned visas for human rights abusers. Trump revoked Bill Browder’s visa. Bill Browder is the one who successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act which sanctioned Russia for torturing and killing his business associate and friend, Sergei Magnitsky and blacklisted the individuals involved in his death. Putin has been out to get him ever since. Browder was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian prison but he’s out of their reach. He’s on a mission to get as many countries as possible to pass the Magnitsky Act so Putin and his oligarchs have fewer places to hide their money.
Now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, it’s pretty much cut off from the rest of the western world. In solidarity with Ukraine, the US and many other countries have sanctioned Russia. Putin and his oligarchs have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. The Russian economy has tanked. Very few will do business with Russia.
President Biden’s new budget proposal will strengthen the Treasury Department’s ability to enforce Russian sanctions and repel cyberattacks. Oh, and it will make American oligarchs pay.