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Russian Activist Urges More U.S. Sanctions Over Rights Abuses

Vladimir Kara-Murza, urging sanctions on Russian human rights abusers, said he was poisoned because of his opposition activities.

A Russian opposition figure urged U.S. authorities to impose sanctions on more top Russian officials over human rights abuses in his country.

Open Russia national coordinator Vladimir Kara-Murza told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 7 that more government officials and journalists involved in anti-opposition propaganda should be put on the U.S. sanctions list for human rights abuses. Already, 39 Russians are on that list.

"The most effective way and frankly the most principled deal with those human rights abusers is to place them on that sanctions list," Kara-Murza said.

In contrast to Soviet officials, Russian leaders and Kremlin-connected oligarchs today have bank accounts in the West, send their children to study, and buy property and yachts in the West, he said.

"This double-standard, this hypocrisy has to stop," he said. "When high-ranking human rights abusers are placed on this sanctions list, it has a very strong effect."

Last year, Kara-Murza, 34, barely survived poisoning in what he says was a murder attempt for his opposition activity. He now works at Open Russia, run by Russian tycoon and Kremlin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

With reporting by AP