Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin held a news conference and taking center stage was the decision by the Russian Duma to play tit-for-tat after the US adopted the Magnitsky Act.
The Sergei Magnitsky Bill - named after a Russian lawyer who died under mysterious circumstances in a Russian prison after having exposed corruption - prevents those responsible for his death from visiting the United States and if they have assets smuggled out of Russia stashed away in the United States, they are subject to seizure.
The Russian law banned the adoption of Russian children by US citizens. Putin ingenuously declared that he would have to study the law before signing it, but such laws do not get through the Duma unless they have been preapproved by the Kremlin.
In his response to questions on the issue, Vladimir Putin clearly signaled that he fully approved the "emotional but adequate" response to the American "provocation". He admitted that he was not a good Christian because he refused to turn the other cheek. It was necessary to fight back, because if one did not retaliate against a slap in the face, the Americans would continue to administer repeated slaps.
Putin condemned the legislation of the Magnitsky Act that was part of trade liberalization with Russia and retired the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, saying that "One anti-Soviet act has been replaced by another, anti-Russian one."
The Russian law was named after an adopted Russian boy who died when his parents negligently left him in a car that overheated. Putin observed: "The American justice system often does not react at all and releases the people who have clearly committed a criminal offense against a child, of any criminal responsibility. But that's not all. Russian representatives are denied any access, even as observers, in these legal processes."
In general the Americans were hypocritical when they called out Russia for prison conditions and human rights violations. The Americans, despite their promises, had not closed down their infamous detention facility in Guantanamo, Cuba.
I have already talked about this: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, where people are kept jailed for years without being charged. It is incomprehensible. Not only are those prisoners detained without charge, they walk around shackled, like in the Middle Ages. They legalised torture in their own country.
In the Cold War, when the Americans arrested Soviet spies, Moscow would immediately retaliate by arresting American nationals. The practice, it seems, has now migrated to the legislative arena.