Moscow, Washington should stop exchanging laws that harm bilateral relations - expert

A petition for adding State Duma deputies to the U.S. "Magnitsky List" will have no consequences, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and Dean of the School of World Economics and World Politics at the National Research University-Higher School of Economics Sergei Karaganov told Interfax on Monday.

"I think there will be no consequences. Especially as the Department of State is in charge of the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act merely sets up the Obama Administration and deliberately damages Russian-U.S. relations," he said.

Moscow and Washington should stop exchanging laws that dent bilateral relations. "I think that both countries should stop, especially as debates on banning adoptions of sick children hit a public nerve both in Russia and abroad. As soon as children became the question, it annoyed plenty of people," the expert said.

Karaganov called a mistake the State Duma's approval of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. "I think that is worse than a crime; it is a mistake. This is not politics. Politicians have overstepped a certain limit they were not supposed to overstep. Unfortunately, the State Duma of the Russian Federation has done that," he said.

The move significantly worsened Russian-U.S. relations and gave a sleazy appearance to the Russian political class, the expert said. "The game might have been political, but it looked like children could be bargained for criminals. That is totally impermissible," Karaganov said.

The State Duma passed the "anti-Magnitsky bill" in the third reading on Friday. The Federation Council will consider it this week. If the approval is granted, the bill will be submitted to the Russian president for signing.

The law bans U.S. adoptions of Russian children. Besides, it will ban the activity of non-profit organizations if they are led or financed by U.S. citizens, including people with dual citizenship.

The Russian law retaliates against the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which imposes restrictions on Russian officials suspected by the United States of being related to the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky at a Moscow detention facility in 2009.

The petition for adding Stat Duma deputies who had supported the Dima Yakovlev Law was posted on the White House Web site. As of 6:00 a.m. Moscow time, more than 46,000 people have asked the White House to consider adding State Duma deputies to the "Magnitsky List."

No less than 25,000 signatures were necessary for considering the petition at the U.S. administration.

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