U.S. Sanctions on Russia Start with a Secret List

Posted by at 7:50 pm on March 6, 2014
Category: Economic SanctionsRussia Sanctions

Sevastopol, Crimea By Alexxx1979 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons White House issued an executive order this afternoon starting off the expected sanctions on Russia in response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea. As anticipated, these sanctions involve targeted sanctions on certain individuals and entities involved in the invasion of Crimea, including travel bans and asset blocking.  Designated Crimean officials supporting the Russian actions will also subject to the order.

The order does not include a list of the particular officials subject to asset blocking, presumably because that list is being developed now. Neither is there a list of those subject to the travel ban, but that’s because the list is secret. Even sanctioned individuals, apparently, deserve a little privacy.

The New York Times reports that a “senior administration official” stated that just under a dozen persons are currently subject to the travel ban. Several are already in the United States and they will learn that they are on the list when their visas are revoked. The rest will learn that they are on the blacklist should they apply for a visa. It’s unclear how much deterrent impact such a secret blacklist will have on its targets.

Interestingly, the New York Times suggests that the executive order contains provisions that will eventually allow the names of those subject to visa bans to be made public. Frankly, I don’t see anything in the order which states this expressly or leads to such a conclusion. On the other hand, I am unaware of any federal law which would prohibit the disclosure of the names of non-U.S. citizens who will not be granted visas to travel to the United States. If anyone has an idea on where these foreign privacy rights come from, please let me know in the comments.


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Copyright © 2014 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
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Perhaps they just don’t want to tell them that they are on the visa blacklist because that would tip them off that they may also be subject to asset freezes on their foreign bank accounts so as to not inspire them move to their money until the asset freezes are in place. One could easily expect accounts being moved from Geneva and London to Macao and Hong Kong.

Comment by Hillbilly on March 10th, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published a list of names subject to Canada / EU Sanctions the very same day, referencing the executive order. If the SDN list is modified, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these individuals on it (and probably neither would they).


Comment by Hansel on March 13th, 2014 @ 11:02 am