US sanctions: Nervous Russian elite 'realize Putin made a serious mistake'

Hundreds of Russian oligarchs could be included on a list of potential US sanctions in the upcoming "Kremlin Report." DW spoke to former US diplomat Daniel Fried about growing anxiety within the Russian elite.

Media reports suggest concern is growing in Russia about a detailed report that the US government will submit to Congress at the end of January about oligarchs with close ties to President Vladimir Putin. Washington is expected to impose fresh penalties on Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 US election, and around 300 oligarchs fear being named and included on a sanctions list. Former US diplomat Daniel Fried used to oversee sanctions at the State Department and spoke to DW about the upcoming "Kremlin report," growing anxiety within the Russian elite, and new sanctions.


DW: There have been many rounds of sanctions before, but the Russian elite seems to be very concerned this time. Why?


Daniel Fried: I think that the Russian elite has realized Putin's aggression against Ukraine, against the West in general and the United States in particular has consequences for them. They sense that the US is seriously angry about what Russia attempted to do in our elections and this sanctions law is partly a response — and that Putin cannot protect them. Whatever deal the Kremlin had or thought it had with the Trump campaign hasn't worked out in practice. And so Putin's inner circle, and its connections in the business world are going to be publicized, and Putin can't stop that.

Source: DW

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