Nothing is too absurd for today’s Russia. The Kremlin, which stole Crimea and has troops controlling vast sections of eastern Ukraine, is sanctioning Ukrainians for “hostile behavior” against Russia. On Nov. 1, it published a list of 322 individuals and 68 companies who will lose their assets in Russia and who can't run a business there.
Most on the list don’t own anything in Russia and won’t be hurt. It's a scatter-shot mix of politicians, top officials, activists and high-profile Ukrainians.
Russia has done so much real harm to Ukraine — centuries of harm — that this list is hardly a pinprick. Most Ukrainian politicians named took it as proof of their patriotism. Soon jokes appeared about some trying to buy a place on it.
What was Russia trying to achieve? Take Yulia Tymoshenko, an ex-prime minister and presidential frontrunner: Was she on the list because she is bad for Russia — or did Russia include her to validate her? What about President Petro Poroshenko’s partner Ihor Kononenko? Is he not on the list because he is a secret friend of Russia, or is this a Russian attempt to undermine Poroshenko? What about Ukrainian oligarchs Ihor Kolomoisky and Dmytro Firtash, who weren’t sanctioned either?
Our suggestion: forget about the list. We’ll never guess Russia’s intentions, and we shouldn’t play along with its attempt to meddle in Ukraine even more. The Kremlin's war has killed more than 10,500 Ukrainians and stolen 7 percent of Ukraine's territory. Ukraine will get the territory back by accelerating the break from its Soviet and czarist pasts. The sanctions widen the divide between an autocratic, murderous and imperial Kremlin and Ukraine, which should respond by strengthening and speeding up its democratic development and economic ties with the West.