Sanctions target mid- or low-level officials and will have little impact on the wealthiest
He is known as Vladimir Putin’s enforcer. Almost every criminal case in Russia – from Pussy Riot to anti-government street protests – passes his desk. But as of last week Moscow’s top law officer, Alexander Bastrykin, is no longer welcome in Britain. He is banned from owning property, opening a bank account or popping over from Moscow for a weekend jaunt.
Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s powerful investigative committee, was one of 25 Russians sanctioned by the UK. All were allegedly involved in human rights abuses – specifically in the mistreatment of Sergei Magnitsky, who was beaten to death in 2009 in a Moscow jail. Bastrykin covered up the case, No 10 says. Others named and shamed include judges, interior ministry officials and prison staff.
Luke Harding’s Shadow State: Mayhem and Russia’s Remaking of the West (Guardian Faber) is available from the Guardian Bookshop.
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