Repealing it came with strings. On December 6, House and Senate legislators passed the Magnitsky Act. On December 14, Obama enacted it. Congress and US media scoundrels hailed it as "an important step in the cause of human rights and democracy."
Russia's Foreign Ministry angrily responded. It called linking human rights to trade "cynical."
"We regret that a US administration declaring its commitment to the development of stable and constructive bilateral relations was unable to defend its stated position against those who look to the past and see our country not as a partner, but rather an opponent - fully in line with the canons of the Cold War," it stated.
Putin called the Magnitsky measure a "purely political, unfriendly act."
"I don't understand why Russian-US relations should be sacrificed for some domestic political gain," he added.
"The government's stance is to ignore crimes against Russian orphans adopted by US parents and not to punish the criminals. Russian observers are not even allowed to attend such trials and I find this unacceptable."
"The US should better not humiliate Russia," he stressed.
Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko said:
"That law, the so-called Magnitsky law is aimed against Russian citizens whose guilt has not been proved by the court yet but who were a priori found guilty in the US."
"This is a very unfriendly gesture to Russia. I am sure that some political forces are interested in the presence of constant political pressure on Russia."
"If the US Congress adopted a universal law banning entry to the US for citizens of any country who violate human rights that could be understood."
"But why is Washington doing such an unfriendly gesture amid the current reset of the US-Russia relations on which the global stability depends? Why did they chose Russia for it?"
Moscow promised "analogous restrictions" on US officials in response.
Key is anti-Russian sentiment. Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian attorney. In 2009, he died in police custody. His death drew international media attention.
He specialized in civil law. He did anti-corruption work. He uncovered evidence of tax fraud. He implicated police, judiciary figures, tax officials, bankers, and Russia's mafia.