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Russian big shots ridicule sanctions: ‘the work of pranksters,’ one tweets

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin gives a thumbs up next to Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) before the start of a signing ceremony in New Delhi December 24, 2012. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3BVMG Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin gives a thumbs up next to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) before the start of a signing ceremony in New Delhi December 24, 2012. (REUTERS/Grigory Dukor )

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who was hit with economic sanctions on Monday for his role in Russia’s move into Crimea, appears to be a man of simple tastes.

If his robust Twitter presence — two separate accounts, 210,000 followers and nearly 15,000 tweets — is any indication, he loves Steven Seagal, shooting guns and taunting NATO and the West at every opportunity.

At no moment was this proclivity more evident than Monday when Rogozin learned the U.S. was going to sanction him personally along with six other Russian leaders.  According to that announcement, the punitive economic measures will freeze his personal assets in any U.S. jurisdiction, and Americans are for now forbidden from doing business with Rogozin.

You could almost hear the chortles from Moscow.

The chief executive of Russia’s largest oil company and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin is also scoffing at the sanctions.

Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft,  called them “evidence of powerlessness,” according to Russian news agencies.

Sechin has not been sanctioned but is a likely candidate if the penalties are broadened.

Rogozin’s braggadocio is not an aberration. Both inside and outside cyber sphere, Rogozin has a reputation for theatrics. Born into a Moscow family in 1963, he was raised by a Soviet military scientist, his biography says. From there, he went on to amass a grab bag of degrees: journalism, economics, a PhD in philosophy.

He got into national politics as the leader of the political bloc Rodina — motherland — in 2003. But two years later, his party was banned from some Moscow elections over allegations that his campaign’s slogan, “Clean Moscow of Rubbish,” was racist, according to a report by Ria Novosti, one of Russia’s largest news agencies.

He rebounded to become Russia’s ambassador to NATO in 2008, where he frequently derided Ukraine’s attempt to join that military alliance. That year, he called Ukraine a “bankrupt scandalous regime.”

Three years later, he was named Russia’s deputy prime minister. This was when his budding love affair with Twitter exploded.

Here, he has chronicled many Russian adventures.

He has discovered that Russian tanks are large enough for meditation.

He has fired many large guns.


And he’s also developed an affinity with Steven Seagal.


Terrence McCoy covers poverty, inequality and social justice. He also writes about solutions to social problems.
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