By Randall Palmer OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada broke its silence on Tuesday over whether it would take part in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, signaling it was actively considering joining the institution despite U.S. and Japanese reservations. A senior Canadian finance official revealed the stance to reporters ahead of meetings in Washington of the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies, saying Ottawa welcomed the idea of a new Asian infrastructure investment bank. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ottawa wanted to make sure the AIIB's governance met the high standards expected of such an institution and would take the time needed to ensure it was something Canada would want to join. Britain surprised some allies last month in deciding to join the AIIB, and was quickly followed by Germany, France and Italy. Among the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries, only the United States, Japan and Canada remain as absentees. Washington had urged countries to think twice before signing up to the bank, which it sees as a rival to the U.S.-dominated World Bank. The Canadian official also said the G20 would talk about the increased risks from foreign exchange volatility, including legitimate worry of the impact of the U.S. dollar's rise on emerging markets. The G20 has pledged not to target exchange rates for competitive purposes, but the official said he didn't see countries deliberating moving their currencies but rather the currencies moving in response to monetary policies and economic conditions. Pointing to the euro, for example, he said it had fallen in response to quantitative easing and to European economic weakness. The communique is more likely to focus on fundamental risks to the economy than on exchange rates being a cause in and of themselves, he said, but the G20 would need to be alert to concerns that might arise in emerging markets. He noted Bank for International Settlements research on the challenge to emerging market companies which borrow in U.S. dollars, and whose interest costs therefore rise if their currencies depreciate against the greenback. Regarding China, another live issue this year is Beijing's desire to have its yuan included in the basket of currencies that make up the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights. But the official said the IMF Executive Board would only start discussing this in May, with no decisions before the autumn, and he said Canada would take a position once it had the IMF's assessment. (Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Meredith Mazzilli)
Bishops urge Catholics to avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it was developed using cells from an aborted fetus
In December, Pope Francis said taking vaccines derived from aborted cells would be "morally acceptable."
James Charles faced his first major backlash in 2017 when he joked about contracting the Ebola virus before visiting South Africa.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden took office promising to move quickly to restore and repair America’s relations with the rest of the world, but one major nation has yet to see any U.S. effort to improve ties: China. From Iran to Russia, Europe to Latin America, Biden has sought to cool tensions that rose during President Donald Trump’s four years in office. Although the Biden administration has halted the ferocious rhetorical attacks and near daily announcements of new sanctions on China that had become commonplace under Trump, it has yet to back down on any of Trump's actions against Beijing.
The de facto U.S. and Canadian embassies in Taiwan on Tuesday praised the quality of pineapples grown on the island, depicting photographs of their top diplomats in Taipei with the fruit after an import ban by China. China last week stopped the import of Taiwanese pineapples, citing "harmful creatures" it said could come with the fruit. Infuriated Taiwanese authorities called the ban a political move to further pressure the island, a charge that China denied.
- The Independent
Follow the latest updates
I received my first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in New York City and had to battle a flawed booking system
An Insider reporter struggled to book an appointment and had to wait in line for hours to get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
- Associated Press
When Eddie Murphy made the original “Coming to America,” he was, almost indisputably, the funniest man in America. Murphy was at the very height of his fame, coming off “Beverly Hills Cop II” and the stand-up special “Raw.” Arsenio Hall, Murphy’s longtime friend and co-star in “Coming to America,” remembers them sneaking out during the shoot to a Hollywood nightclub while still dressed as Prince Akeem and his loyal aide Semmi.
- LA Times
Op-Ed: It's official. Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Hold him accountable
President Biden's failure to punish the Saudi crown prince defies justice and weakens the rule of law everywhere.
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
The Czech Republic, battling the world's worst surge in COVID-19 infections, deployed more police officers and soldiers on Monday to help enforce new lockdown measures that seek to confine people mostly to their home districts. Prime Minister Andrej Babis has said the healthcare system faces collapse without the new restrictions due to a record number of patients in a serious condition. Exactly a year from when the first COVID-19 case was reported, authorities deployed around 26,000 police officers and 3,800 soldiers to enforce the three-week order limiting free movement, though there were exemptions for work-related travel.
- Associated Press
For years, Boston city leaders have vowed to diversify the police department so it looks more like the community it serves. The percentage of officers of color is up slightly compared to 2018, but the racial makeup of the overall force is largely the same as 10 years ago and only slightly more diverse than 20 years ago, according to data compiled in a 2015 audit of the department.
- Associated Press
The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to uphold voting restrictions in Arizona in a key case that could make it harder to challenge a raft of other voting measures Republicans have proposed following last year's elections. All six conservative justices, appointed by Republican presidents, suggested they would throw out an appellate ruling that struck down the restrictions as racially discriminatory under the landmark Voting Rights Act. Less clear is what standard the court might set for how to prove discrimination under the law, first enacted in 1965.
- The Daily Beast
Mandel Ngan/Getty FBI Director Christopher Wray, pushing back against the Capitol and D.C. police, insisted on Tuesday that his agents shared intelligence with them “in three ways” ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.Making his first substantial public comments on the FBI’s performance since an attack he called “domestic terrorism,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI had provided a now-infamous “situational information report” from its Norfolk bureau to D.C.-area law enforcement through an email the night before; an undated verbal briefing at a multi-agency command post set up by the bureau’s Washington Field Office; and through a post on a shared law-enforcement information network.Norfolk agents “made the judgment to get the information, in three different ways, to their partners, even though they didn’t know if it would be accurate,” Wray testified. The Norfolk memo from Jan. 5 remains undisclosed, but reportedly compiled a social-media thread involving exhortations that “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent.”Top Capitol Riot Police Throw Each Other Under the Bus Over Botched Jan. 6 ResponseLast week, the former chiefs of Capitol security and the current chief of the Metropolitan Police Department said the briefings were woefully inadequate. Robert Contee, the head of the D.C. police, said he only saw the email and expressed frustration that the FBI did not provide so much as a phone call. Steven Sund, who resigned as Capitol Police chief after the insurrection, testified that he only learned the police received the FBI report slightly before last week’s hearing.The FBI has also provided unclear and contradictory information about what it knew ahead of Jan. 6. The head of the Washington Field Office, Steven D’Antuono, said two days after the attack that “there was no indication” of a threat to the Capitol before shifting his story the following week and claiming the FBI warned local law enforcement about potentially violent individuals.Wray did not resolve concerns about the robustness of the FBI warning. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), thundered at Wray for not “sound[ing] the alarm in some more visible and ringing way.”But Wray sought to get the FBI out from under the bus as recriminations over the Capitol insurrection coalesce. Wray suggested that the representatives of local law enforcement were responsible for not sufficiently alerting their superiors about the nebulous FBI warning. “Everyone’s supposed to go back and pass it up their chain,” Wray said.Simultaneously, Wray neither emphasized the reliability of the Norfolk warning—setting low expectations for when it emerges in public—nor claimed any of the other FBI’s field offices had generated their own warnings. Yet President Donald Trump and elected Republicans for weeks stoked the lie that President Joe Biden and the Democrats stole the election; Trump called for his supporters to gather for a “wild” march on the Capitol; and for days ahead of the rally, pro-Trump online forums exploded with calls for violence.Wray instead called the Norfolk warning “raw” and lamented the difficulty of determining what social-media-borne threats are more than bluster. He shot back that the FBI had issued generic warnings about domestic extremism before, during, and after the election. And like a senior Justice Department official last week, he suggested he was open to new counterterrorism authorities that civil libertarians have warned against.After praising the investigations the FBI has conducted under existing powers, which have now resulted in over 270 people arrested, Wray said, “certainly you would be hard-pressed to find any FBI director who wouldn’t welcome more tools in the toolbox.” He said there were now around 2,000 open investigations into domestic terrorism.But Wray also provided political and euphemistic answers that pointed to the fault lines of the post-Jan. 6 debate over terrorism committed by white Americans with powerful political champions. He dodged a question over whether a rally called by Trump and for the purpose of overturning the election in his favor featured “Trump supporters.” He said instead that the insurrections included “militia violent extremists” and “in some instances ‘racially motivated violent extremists,’ specifically advocates of the superiority of the white race.” The FBI has come under criticism for using a term that obscures the source of the “racially motivated” violence and falsely suggests there is an equivalent threat of violence targeting whites.Republicans on the committee demonstrated similar false equivalence. The ranking Republican, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), worried aloud about “ever-present left-wing threats,” which the Department of Homeland Security under Trump assessed as marginal compared to white supremacist violence. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who reportedly pressured Georgia election officials to throw out valid ballots, wondered if it would have “been easy for international terrorists” to infiltrate the Capitol mob.Wray provided little information about key questions in the Capitol investigation, including about how Capitol Policeman Brian Sicknick died. But he also said that additional charges, particularly “some of the more advanced charges,” were forthcoming against insurrectionists. “A large and growing number of the people we’ve arrested so far in connection with the 6th are what we’d call militia violent extremism,” Wray told senators and said that there were indications of a “planned and coordinated” assault from some right-wing groups in attendance.On Wednesday, a different Senate panel will hear the first Jan. 6 testimony from officials at the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as from Jill Sanborn, Wray’s counterterrorism chief.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Texas and other states move to roll back Covid-19 rules, putting them at odds with health officials.
- Associated Press
Joe Exotic of “Tiger King" fame has found new attorneys who say they plan to file a motion for a new trial in a matter of months. Joe Exotic, whose real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. Baskin was not harmed.
- Associated Press
The Philippine president has dismissed his former ambassador to Brazil after she was seen on video physically abusing a Filipino member of her household staff. President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night he had approved a recommendation to fire Marichu Mauro, revoke her retirement benefits and disqualify her from public office for life. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said at the time that the unidentified victim had returned to Philippines and that it was trying to reach her amid an investigation.
- Associated Press
Israel's Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to the country's powerful Orthodox establishment, ruling that people who convert to Judaism through the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel are also Jewish and entitled to become citizens. The landmark ruling, 15 years in the making, centered around the combustible question of who is Jewish and marked an important victory for the Reform and Conservative movements.
- The New York Times
Just eight weeks after the Capitol riot, some of the most prominent groups that participated are fracturing amid a torrent of backbiting and finger-pointing. The fallout will determine the future of some of the most high-profile far-right organizations and raises the specter of splinter groups that could make the movement even more dangerous. “This group needs new leadership and a new direction,” the St. Louis branch of the Proud Boys announced recently on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, echoing denunciations by at least six other chapters also rupturing with the national organization. “The fame we’ve attained hasn’t been worth it.” Similar rifts have emerged in the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary group that recruits veterans, and the Groyper Army, a white nationalist organization focused on college campuses and a vocal proponent of the false claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times The shake-up is driven in part by the large number of arrests in the aftermath of the Capitol riot and the subsequent crackdown on some groups by law enforcement. As some members of the far right exit more established groups and strike out on their own, it may become even more difficult to track extremists who have become more emboldened to carry out violent attacks. “What you are seeing right now is a regrouping phase,” said Devin Burghart, who runs the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a Seattle-based center that monitors far-right movements. “They are trying to reassess their strengths, trying to find new foot soldiers and trying to prepare for the next conflict.” The top leaders of the Groyper Army, Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, have been in a bitter public dispute in the weeks since the riot. Casey accused Fuentes of putting followers at risk of arrest by continuing high-profile activities. Fuentes wrote on Telegram, “It’s not easy but it is important to keep pushing forward now more than ever.” Among the Proud Boys, a far-right fight club that claims to defend the values of Western civilization, the recriminations were compounded by revelations that Enrique Tarrio, the organization’s leader, once worked as an informant for law enforcement. Despite denials from Tarrio, the news has thrown the organization’s future into question. “We reject and disavow the proven federal informant, Enrique Tarrio, and any and all chapters that choose to associate with him,” the Alabama chapter of the Proud Boys announced on Telegram using language identical to other chapters. After the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, accusations about informants and undercover agents have been particularly pointed. “Traitors are everywhere, everywhere,” wrote one participant on a far-right Telegram channel. The chapters breaking away accused Tarrio of leading the group astray with high-profile clashes with far-left demonstrators and by storming the Capitol. “The Proud Boys were founded to provide brotherhood to men on the right, not to yell slogans at the sky” and “get arrested,” the St. Louis chapter said in its announcement. Extremist organizations tend to experience internal upheaval after any cataclysmic event, as seen in the case of the 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead, or the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children. Daryl Johnson, who has studied the Three Percenters and other paramilitary groups, said the current infighting could lead to further hardening and radicalization. “When these groups get disrupted by law enforcement, all it does is scatter the rats,” he said. “It does not get rid of the rodent problem.” President Joe Biden has pledged to make fighting extremism a priority and Merrick Garland, his nominee for attorney general, said during his Senate confirmation hearings that he promised to “do everything in the power of the Justice Department” to stop domestic terrorism. Garland, the lead prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing case, also said the United States was facing “a more dangerous period than we faced in Oklahoma City” or in recent memory. More than 300 people have been charged in the Capitol riot, with roughly 500 total cases expected. At least 26 people facing some of the most serious accusations have been tied to the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys. Most of those in the crowd were probably unaffiliated with a particular group yet radicalized enough to show up in Washington to support Trump’s false election claim, experts said, feeding concerns about how they will channel their anger going forward. The legal fallout from the riot will most likely push people underground as well. Overall, the hazy affiliations and the potential for lone offenders will make it more difficult to uncover planned attacks. Already, there has been chatter among members of paramilitary groups that stormed the Capitol about trying to attack it while the president addresses a joint session of Congress, Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting chief of the Capitol Police, told a House subcommittee last week. But even as some extremist groups push for more confrontation, all kinds of adherents want out. The president of the North Carolina chapter of the Oath Keepers, Doug Smith, announced last month that he was splitting from the national organization. Smith did not respond to messages seeking comment, but he told The News Reporter, his local newspaper in Whiteville, North Carolina, that he was ashamed by demonstrators who attacked the Capitol and beat police officers. For others, however, the riot was a resounding success, an opening shot across the bows of the law and the establishment. “There is a small segment that is going to see this as Lexington and Concord, the shot heard around the world, and the beginning of either the racial holy war or the fall of our society, of our government,” said Tom O’Connor, a retired FBI counterterrorism specialist who continues to train agents on the subject. Far-right groups are already rallying around opposition to proposed changes to immigration policy and the discussion of stricter gun control under Biden’s administration. The number of people inclined toward violence is impossible to count, but experts agree that harsh political divisions have expanded the potential pool on both right and left fringes. The splintering of larger organizations sets the stage for small groups or lone offenders, who are more difficult to track. “That makes them more dangerous,” said J.J. MacNab, an expert on paramilitary groups at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for the Oklahoma City bombing, did not join a paramilitary group but still adopted the violent ideology. “The rhetoric is fuel to the fire for those lone offenders,” said O’Connor, echoing a common worry. “My concern now is that there are many McVeighs in the offing.” Experts cite a variety of reasons for why the propensity toward violence might be worse now than during previous times when far-right organizations declared war on the government. The Oklahoma City attack caused a period of retreat, but the election of a Black president in 2008 resurrected the white supremacy movement. These groups have now experienced some 13 years without any sustained effort by law enforcement to counter them, experts said. Some groups that organized the far-right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 fell apart over the subsequent internal squabbling and a lawsuit that threatens to bankrupt them. Others, including the Proud Boys and various paramilitary organizations, grew larger and went on to participate in the Jan. 6 riot. At the same time, extremist ideology has spread further and much more rapidly on social media, and foreign governments like Russia have worked actively to disseminate such thoughts to sow divisions within the United States. New threats and concerns about potential targets continue to surface. The announcement in early February that hackers attempted to poison the water supply in a small Florida city attracted the attention of Rinaldo Nazzaro, the founder of a violent white supremacist group called the Base. Seven members of the Base in three states were rounded up last year on charges of planning to commit murder, kidnapping and other violence in order to ignite a wider civil war that would allow a white homeland to emerge. Nazzaro, out of the reach of U.S. law enforcement in Russia, wrote on Telegram that the water poisoning plot was a possible template for something larger. The kind of extremists who worry experts the most emerged in October, when a paramilitary cell planning to kidnap the governor of Michigan was exposed. In federal court in January, the FBI portrayed one of the 14 defendants, Barry G. Croft Jr., 44, as a national leader of the Three Percenters, a loosely allied coalition of paramilitary groups that is difficult to track because virtually anyone can claim allegiance. Croft helped to build and test shrapnel bombs to target people, according to court documents, and a hit list that he posted on Facebook included threats to Trump and Barack Obama. In denying him bail, Judge Sally J. Berens quoted from transcripts of conversations taped by an informant in which he threatened to hurt people or to blow things up. “I am going to do some of the most nasty, disgusting things that you have ever read about in the history of your life,” the judge quoted him as saying. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- Yahoo News Video
China has pledged half a billion doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries as experts raise concerns
China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press. With just four of China’s many vaccine makers able to produce at least 2.6 billion doses this year, a large part of the world’s population will end up inoculated not with the fancy Western vaccines boasting headline-grabbing efficacy rates, but with China’s humble, traditionally made shots.
- The Daily Beast
ATTILA KISBENEDEKBack when he was still running Russia’s FSB, Nikolai Patrushev, a longtime Putin crony who now heads the Russian Security Council, famously referred to himself and his colleagues as representatives of the “new nobility.”Nepotism is now breeding a new generation of Russian “nobles,” who are poised to take over the Kremlin upon the retirement of their fathers. These princelings—some of whom already occupy exalted positions in the government and the corporate world—are accused of benefiting from their parents’ money, mostly stolen from the state, via offshore accounts. They also travel abroad and educate their children in America and Europe, while paying homage to the Kremlin leadership, which portrays the West as an enemy.Anti-corruption campaigners claim that the children of the officials and oligarchs who enable Putin’s repressive kleptocracy are effectively being used to evade Western sanctions, and must be targeted themselves in order to deter the Kremlin from future criminal behavior.European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels last week and reportedly decided to add four Russian officials responsible for the incarceration of Russian democrat Alexei Navalny to a list of six Russians already sanctioned in connection with Navalny’s August 2020 poisoning.The Daily Beast reported in January that the Biden administration was also considering imposing a fresh round of sanctions as part of its own response to the treatment of the opposition leader. On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that, in coordination with the EU's measures, it would be imposing sanctions on seven top Russian government officials, including FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov, Presidential Policy Directorate Chief Andrei Yarin, and the Presidential Executive Office's First Deputy Chief of Staff, Sergei Kiriyenko.Team Biden Weighs Fresh Sanctions on Russia for Poisoning and Jailing NavalnyBut Navalny and his team are advocating for sanctions to be imposed on an even wider range of Russian oligarchs, who form the backbone of Putin's regime, as well on the sons of Putin’s henchmen. Sanction-related travel bans and asset freezes for Putin’s siloviki—strongmen—have proved inconvenient but some appear happy to stay in Russia and sunbathe on the Black Sea instead of the Mediterranean so long as they can evade financial restrictions by transferring their assets to their adult children.After the West imposed sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Crimea, Navalny said: “If the meaning of the sanctions is to exert real pressure on the mafia that has seized power (and this is precisely what is declared), then their sons would be included… These little sons are calmly cruising on their yachts and eating crème brulée in cafes on the streets of European cities.”Navalny and Vladimir Ashurkov, the executive director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, have included two princelings on a suggested sanctions list that accompanied a letter Ashurkov sent to President Biden earlier this year: Denis Bortnikov, son of FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov, and Dmitry Patrushev, son of Bortnikov’s predecessor, Nikolai Patrushev, who now heads Putin’s National Security Council. The document claims that both sons act as “wallets” for their fathers’ “ill-gotten gains.”Ashurkov told the Daily Beast that these two men are deeply corrupt and senior enough within the government structure to be sanctioned in their own right. He insisted it was not his role to tell Western governments what to do but said it would be appropriate to widen the sanctions on further offspring of the siloviki. “I think it is logical that the immediate family of people involved in human rights abuses and corruption are also banned from Western countries,” he said.There is a precedent in Washington for sanctioning the sons of Putin’s enablers: Roman Rotenberg, son of Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg, and Roman’s cousin Igor Rotenberg, son of Arkady Rotenberg, have both been sanctioned because of their financial ties to their fathers. In late 2017, the U.S. Treasury added Artem Chaika, son of Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika, to those sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act. And in April 2018, the Treasury designated Kirill Shamalov, Putin's former son-in-law, for sanctions. But these four represent only a fraction of the new generation of Russian elite that reaps the rewards of the corruption and repressive Putin regime.Retired U.S. diplomat Steven Pifer, currently a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, thinks it’s a finely balanced calculation. “While I'm not fully comfortable with targeting family members, perhaps it is time to sanction spouses and children along with the primary individual,” he told The Daily Beast. “If a Russian oligarch can’t travel, that’s one thing. If his spouse can’t make her shopping trips to London and kids can’t get to their colleges in the West, that would be a different degree of pressure.”There is no shortage of potential targets among Russia’s princeling class. Not surprisingly, both of Nikolai Patrushev's sons graduated from the FSB Academy, which trains its students to become spies against the West. Dmitry Patrushev, 43, is on the list of targets suggested by Navalny’s organization. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture in 2018 after heading the Russian Agricultural Bank and bringing it deeply and scandalously into debt (close to a billion dollars in 2016). (Despite, or maybe because of, Dmitry's much-publicized failures at the bank, that same year Putin personally awarded him the Order of Honor and the Association of Russian Bankers named him Banker of the Year.)Dmitry's brother, Andrei Patrushev, aged 39, worked for the FSB before becoming an advisor to Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin (one of Putin's oldest KGB buddies) in 2006, at age 25. The next year President Putin awarded him the coveted Order of Honor “for the achieved labor success and many years of conscientious work.” Later Andrei became a top official at Gazprom Neft. He now co-owns a marine geology firm, which in 2019 had an annual gross revenue of $155 million, and is on the board of the prestigious Russian Association of Arctic Explorers. Both Patrushev sons have large seaside vacation homes near Putin's infamous palace at Gelendzhik.Viktor Zolotov, who was already on the U.S. sanctions list, has known Putin for years and is said to enjoy the Russian president's deepest trust. Zolotov heads the powerful 300,000-person Russian National Guard, which is used to brutally suppress street protests. (In 2018, after Alexei Navalny exposed illegalities in procurement contracts for the National Guard, Zolotov published a video message in which he challenged Navalny to a duel and promised to make “good, juicy mincemeat” of him.) Zolotov’s son-in-law, Yuri Chechikhin, 44, is a business partner of the oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who gave him a stake in his construction business, which earns several billion rubles a year, including through lucrative government contracts.Zolotov’s son Roman Zolotov, age 40, was educated at the FSB academy and worked at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), where his dad served as deputy minister, for a number of years. He is co-owner of a Russian company called Quantum Technologies and serves on the boards of various state-owned companies. Roman, who has a vacation home in Gelendzhik along with the Patrushevs, is also deputy head of the Moscow Department of Sports and Tourism, an actor and a film producer. While Roman was still earning a modest salary at the MVD, he and his brother-in-law Yuri produced several low-grade Russian movies, one of which featured Roman in the cast. Both men own mansions outside Moscow that are valued at over $10 million each.Yuri Chaika, currently Russian representative to the Caucasus Region, was Russian prosecutor-general from 2006 to 2020 and presided over the Kremlin’s sustained campaign of persecution of civil society. During Chaika’s tenure as prosecutor-general, his sons, 45-year-old Artem Chaika and 33-year-old Igor Chaika, created huge business empires. A January 2020 article in Forbes Russia, drawing on an earlier, explosive investigation by Navalny, describes how the two Chaika brothers, beginning with Artem’s illegal seizure of a large shipping enterprise in 2002, each achieved staggering wealth. They accumulated countless companies—construction, shipping, refuse collection, property development, industrial products and food export—and through rigged auctions, massive government subsidies and uncompetitive state contracts made them profitable. All the while, their father prevented legal challenges to their dubious business practices.An investigation by Navalny’s FBK revealed that Artem Chaika bought a $3 million home near Lake Geneva in 2013 and has Swiss residence.The brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg are Putin's friends from childhood and former judo sparring partners of the Russian president. (Arkady recently to came to Putin’s rescue by claiming, unconvincingly, that he was the owner of “Putin’s palace,” exposed by Navalny.)Putin Says He Doesn’t Know Anything about the Billion-Dollar Palace Russia Built HimSince Putin became president in 2000, the pair have become billionaires, supplying pipelines to the state-controlled energy corporation Gazprom and landing exclusive contracts for the Sochi Olympics. In 2014 the EU and U.S. sanctioned both brothers as a result of the Crimea invasion. A 2020 U.S. Senate report accused the Rotenbergs of circumventing financial sanctions by buying expensive art through Barclays Bank, as well as by handing over assets to their sons.Roman Rotenberg, 39, is the son of Boris Rotenberg. He studied international business in London, is a British citizen and owns a £3.3 million home in London’s exclusive Belgravia district. Roman, who is first vice-president of the Russian Hockey Federation, is also the formal owner of many of his father’s companies, including those in Finland, where he and his father Boris have citizenship. Arkady’s son Igor Rotenberg, 47, has held numerous positions in the Putin government and also is on the boards of several gas and power companies. His net worth was recently estimated at $1.1 billion.These names represent the tip of a large iceberg. Anti-corruption campaigners believe Russia’s princelings are not only destined to continue the Kremlin's anti-democratic and corrupt governing practices; they also are likely to ensure that the huge gap between the haves and the have-nots in Russia continues to grow. In 2019, 10 percent of Russians owned 83 percent of the country’s wealth. Among the world’s leading economies, Russia is the country with the most striking material inequality.In a speech at the State Department on Feb. 4, President Biden urged the Kremlin to release Navalny from prison and emphasized that “we will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia.” Biden also said that he told President Putin in a telephone call that “the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions—interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens—are over.” So perhaps the U.S. will consider the recommendations of Navalny’s team and include Russian oligarchs—and maybe some princelings—on its sanctions list.Before last week’s meeting in Brussels Russia warned that it would be “ready to react” to any new sanctions by the EU. But in fact there is not much Russia can do, beyond expelling a few more diplomats from Moscow or sanctioning specific Western officials, which would have little impact. In 2014, after being blacklisted by Russia in retaliation for U.S. sanctions, the late Senator John McCain joked: “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.