Today, the US Treasury Department will present its “Kremlin Report,” which Congress tasked it with creating as part of the passage of sanctions on Russia.
The report will detail the relationships of hundreds of Russian oligarchs with President Vladimir Putin, and put their finances, families and lives under a microscope. It is probable that Washington intends to divide Russia’s elite and sow dissatisfaction with Mr Putin by jeopardising their relative standing in the world economy.
Though no legal repercussions will come to those whose names are published—at least for now—they will find it more difficult to conduct dealings in the West, as businesses will be wary of reputational risks. Similarly, Washington could use the list in the future to levy official sanctions against Russia’s elite.
Though the report may create tension within Putin’s inner circle ahead of the March election, it’s unlikely to spark an elite rebellion against the president. Instead, it looks to hold the financial dealings of Russian oligarchs hostage with the threat of sanctions, putting pressure on Mr Putin’s foreign policy adventurism.
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Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.