Jan. 29 is the deadline for the Trump administration to produce a list of Russian oligarchs closely aligned to President Vladimir Putin that is expected to be the basis for future punitive actions against Russia.
According to the law, signed by President Donald Trump Aug. 2 after it passed the House and Senate by overwhelming veto-proof majorities, the list must include “indices of corruption with respect to those individuals” listed. While the list itself will not constitute new sanctions, many in Russia are treating it as though it is, further souring bilateral relations.
The law does allow part of the list to be classified, which some officials in the Treasury Department are strongly advocating. The list also will likely be in the form of an official letter not issued through the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which typically announces sanctions.
Russian analysts predict the list will be embarrassing for those who find themselves on it, but it will have little positive impact on the Kremlin’s behavior on the international stage. As far as mending fences between the U.S. and Russia is concerned, this is seen as yet another step in the wrong direction—and one President Trump has little control over.