Crisis in Ukraine

03.17.14

Russian Leader Mocks Obama After Getting Sanctioned

One senior Russian politician is already scoffing at President Obama’s decision to sanction him by freezing his assets in the U.S because he says he doesn’t have any.

President Obama’s decision to sanction 11 prominent Russian and Ukrainian politicians Monday was met with sarcasm and derision from Russia’s Twitter-happy deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin, who was Russia's long time representative at NATO, laughed off the Obama administration’s announcement of a new executive order implementing visa bans and asset freezes against seven Russian political figures, including close aides to Vladimir Putin, and four Ukrainians involved in the attempted secession of Crimea, including former President Viktor Yanukovich.

He took to his English and Russian language Twitter accounts to point out that freezing the assets of Russian officials might not be a huge problem for those officials.

Rogozin then criticized the executive order as not being serious.

Finally, he thanked Obama and the “Washington Obkam” for the honor of being on the sanctions list.

“Washington Obkam” is a popular pejorative phrase used in Russia and Eastern Europe to refer to an alleged conspiracy in Washington, D.C. to control events in Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union.

Rogozin may not have many assets in the U.S., but he will be affected by the travel ban. He travels to Washington frequently and had been an honored guest of the Obama administration throughout its first term, meeting often with top officials.

He also liked to mix it up with the crowd in Washington that criticized Russia. Following a 2011 meeting with Sens. Jon Kyl and Mark Kirk, Rogozin called the pair “two monsters of the Cold War, who looked at me not through pupils, but targeting sights." 

At the time, Kirk responded, “You could say that we're just not that into him."

The other sanctioned officials include presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev, State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky, member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament Andrey Klishas, head of the upper chamber Valentina Matvienko, State Duma deputy Yelena Mizulina, top Crimean officials Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov, and former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk.