Vladimir Putin Aide Mocks Crimea Sanctions, Saying Tupac Shakur Is The Only Interesting Thing About The US
Vladimir Putin’s top aide has voiced his total indifference to sanctions imposed on him following Crimea’s referendum to join Russia, audaciously saying Tupac Shakur is one of the only things that he cares about from the US.
Vladislav Surkov, known as the “grey cardinal” of the Kremlin, told a Russian newspaper he was proud to be on the list of people who had their assets frozen by president Barack Obama.
“It’s a big honour for me,” he said.
“I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the US are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”
Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal, also openly laughed off the sanctions after being included on the list.
Taking to Twitter, he asked “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.
The US and the European Union retaliated over the Crimea referendum by fixing Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions as punishment for the country’s support – a move widely greeted with scepticism as “toothless”.
“We are making it clear that there are consequences for their actions,” Obama said during a brief statement in the White House briefing room Monday morning.
The EU imposed sanctions on 21 individuals, including three senior Russian commanders, the prime minister of Crimea, a deputy speaker of the Duma and other senior officials.
But it remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, for now, it doesn’t seem as if Russia is particularly fussed.
Even the Moscow stock markets, which had been dragged down by the uncertainty in Crimea, responded positively to the news, posting some of the first gains they’ve had in weeks.
Andrei Klishas, a Russian lawmaker who was targeted, said that the US rebuke was “no tragedy” for him and that he was happy to be in the company of the other sanctioned Russians.
Yelena Mizulina, a member of Russia’s parliament best known for authoring the country’s controversial anti-gay propaganda legislation, said she owned no US “real estate” and was “surprised” to be included, given that her role in the Crimean vote was “very modest.”
President Putin certainly doesn’t seem to care, signing a decree recognising Crimea as an independent state, just hours later, suggesting the first step toward integrating Crimea as a part of the Russian Federation.
Vladislav Surkov – An aide to President Vladimir Putin, he was once considered one of Russia’s most powerful men. He has been called the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal” for his role as a power broker behind the scenes. He’s also credited the architect of Russia’s political system, with power concentrated in the presidency. In the past he was credited with shaping the ideology of the ruling United Russia party. He has also written rock music lyrics and is rumored to have authored a book.
Sergei Glazyev – An economic aide to Putin who oversaw relations with Ukraine. He frequently blasted the protest movement in Kiev and was outspoken in his criticism of American and European support for the protests.
Top government official
Dmitry Rogozin – An outspoken, hawkish Deputy Prime Minister, he’s known to have a close friendship with Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. As a member of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s government, Rogozin is responsible for the armed forces and arms industry.
Elena Mizulina – A senior lawmaker, she is considered one of the Kremlin’s morality enforcers in the parliament. She is perhaps best known as the co-author of last year’s homosexual “propaganda” law which sparked outrage overseas. She also proposed a measure to give Ukrainians Russian passports.
Leonid Slutsky – A lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament. He is the chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots. He was one of the Russian observers attending Sunday’s referendum in Crimea.
Andrei Klishas – A member of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, who proposed retaliatory action in case of Western sanctions on Russia. He is chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society.
Valentina Matviyenko – The head of the Federation Council, she is the most senior lawmaker on the sanctions list.
Sergey Aksyonov – Once an obscure pro-Russian politician in Crimea, he has now been declared the prime minister.
Vladimir Konstantinov – The newly declared speaker of Crimea’s parliament.
Viktor Medvedchuk – A pro-Russian politician, he is being sanctioned for having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support” to impeached President Viktor Yanukovich. Ukraine’s opposition has accused him of orchestrating or aiding a crackdown on protesters and opposition.
Viktor Yanukovich – The ousted president of Ukraine. He was elected in 2010 but was chased from office by protests last month.