In Response To U.S. Magnitsky Move, Russia To Ban Americans

Aug 1 2011 | 12:37pm ET

Russia plans to retaliate against the United States for the latter's decision to bar 60 officials linked to the death in 2009 of hedge fund lawyer Sergei Magnitsky from entering the U.S.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has ordered Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry to create a list of Americans who will be denied Russian visas. It is unclear when those restrictions will come down or who they will cover, but a spokesman for Medvedev said they would be "analogous to those announced by the State Dept."

Russia is investigating the death of Magnitsky following a report that he was tortured and beaten to death. Magnitsky spent about a year in Moscow's most notorious prisons on tax evasion charges after he accused Russian Interior Ministry officials of defrauding his employer, Hermitage Capital Management.

Medvedev's response to the Magnitsky case is being widely monitored as a barometer of his claims to be clamping down on official corruption in Russia. At the same time, he and other Russian officials say that moves like that taken by the U.S. are infringements on Russian sovereignty.

"The U.S. decision is insulting," Leonid Slutsky, a top member of Russia's parliament, the Duma, told The Wall Street Journal. "We will respond firmly, but cautiously."

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