Press Release

September 24, 2020
Senators target Russian officials involved in Navalny poisoning

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) today introduced the bipartisan Holding Russia Accountable for Malign Activities Act of 2020, a targeted bill that would impose sanctions on Russian officials complicit in brazen violations of international law including the recent poisoning of opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. The bill directs the administration to determine if the Kremlin has violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons. The bill also requires a report on the personal wealth amassed by the corrupt practices of Vladimir Putin and his inner circle.

“The U.S. cannot stand idly by while Russia attempts to murder its critics abroad,” said Senator Cardin, author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. “One of the ways Putin has maintained his ironclad grip on Russia is through corruption, which is why the United States must stand up for anti-corruption activists in their pursuit of justice and rule of law. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation that would hold Russia accountable for his violations of international law.”

Senator Coons said of the draft legislation, “Putin’s government has a long and sordid history of using murder and attempted murder to silence Russian citizens at home and abroad who have called attention to the regime’s corrupt and abusive practices.  As Russia continues to meddle in our elections and take other malign actions in countries like Belarus, Ukraine, and Syria that make the world more dangerous, this bill seeks to hold Putin and his inner circle accountable.”

“Vladimir Putin has proven he will stop at nothing to silence or intimidate Russian citizens who speak out against his abuses and rampant corruption, including by poisoning them,”  Senator Rubio said. “I’m proud to join Senator Coons in introducing this bipartisan bill to impose a cost on Putin and his cronies involved in the attempts to murder opposition figures or dissidents as well as those helping the regime cover-up these attacks. This legislation will also require the Administration to make public Putin’s wealth and level of corruption.”

“The attack on Alexei Navalny puts a spotlight on the corruption and lawlessness of the Putin regime,” said Senator Romney. “We must hold the perpetrators accountable for this cowardly attack, which was an attempt to silence dissent and suppress the people’s fight for freedom and democracy.”

“Putin cannot continue to act with impunity while the United States government turns a blind eye. From Russia’s repeated violations of international law – including the recent poisoning of Alexei Navalny – to their efforts to interfere in our elections and undermine our national security, we must hold them accountable. I urge my colleagues to act immediately on this bipartisan bill – and the many other bills we’ve put forward – to make clear the United States will not tolerate Russia’s malfeasance,” said Senator Van Hollen.

The bill text is available here.