The U.S. and its western allies have instituted punishing sanctions against Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. They have cut off Russia from the global banking system and isolated it economically. Russia has limited financial tools at its disposal to retaliate against the West. But what it can do is symbolically punish Hunter Biden.
On Tuesday, the Russian government announced that it was placing sanctions on 13 Americans, including President Biden, his son, and other current or former government officials (Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Press Secretary Jen Psaki, and durable Putin enemy Hillary Clinton all made the list). Bloomberg reports that the sanctions would block any of those on the list from visiting Russia, and would freeze any assets held by them in the country, which one would hope don’t exist. The measures would not preclude the blacklisted officials from engaging in possible peace negotiations.
As the Financial Times’ Max Seddon notes, the irrelevance of the penalties lends itself to ready-made wisecracks (like the headline of this article).
But seriously, why would Hunter Biden want to visit Russia after Apple cut off all retail sales there?