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Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to Novatek CEO Leonid Michelson, who is included on the U.S. Treasury's oligarch list, at an LNG plant in Siberia on December, 8, 2017. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury released this week a long-anticipated report of Russian oligarchs and Kremlin officials, as required by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act signed into law last summer by President Trump. Section 241 of that legislation mandated that Treasury provide a list of senior political figures, oligarchs and "parastatal entities" close to the Kremlin, including an assessment of their net worth.

While there is also a classified version, the public report is basically a "who's who" of Russia — more than 200 individuals, including all the Russian cabinet ministers, presidential aides and 96 of the 200 oligarchs from the Forbes billionaire's list (96 marked the net-worth threshold for inclusion, at $1 billion). There are also individuals on the list who are already sanctioned by the U.S., like Oleg Deripaska, and others who are unlikely ever to face sanctions. (Axios highlighted several of them here.)

By publishing a list that is broad rather than differentiated to include the many proxies and cut-outs that the Kremlin elite use to hide their assets, the administration showed itself to be overcautious as best and incompetent or uncoordinated at worst.

Why it matters: The reaction to the list was swift and critical. Some called it a disgrace, while others suggested that a “real” list expertly curated at the State department was then scrapped as the deadline approached. The Treasury initially defended the list but then, in a surprising statement, seemed to walk back its response, insisting that the classified version was serious and well researched.

What’s next: Amid the confusion and speculation, this may prove either a temporary blip or an insidious attempt to undermine congressionally mandated sanctions.

Alina Polyakova is the David M. Rubenstein Fellow for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Report: U.S. calls for UN-led Afghan peace talks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, D.C., in February. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter outlining a plan to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban that the U.S. is "considering" a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan outlet TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: In the letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, also obtained by Western news outlets, Blinken expresses concern that the Taliban "could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid, as he urges him to embrace his proposal.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conversation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 7 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.