Maryland state officials cut ties with Russia, exerting economic pressure – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Governor Larry Hogan and Governor of State Peter Franchot announced on Monday that they will put further economic pressure on Moscow by severing all official and financial ties with Russia.

Hogan told Russian Governor Aleksander Drozdenko in a letter that he would end Maryland’s sisterhood with the Leningrad Oblast — an area in Northwestern Russia that is home to one of the greatest art collections. of the country.

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Hogan said he made the decision to cut ties with oblast over the weekend.

Maryland and Leningrad Oblast forged ties in 1993 as part of an effort to promote overall bilateral relations and engage in mutual exchanges, Hogan said in the letter. The purpose of establishing that relationship, he said, is “to promote peace and prosperity among communities through local government”.

Saint Petersburg, the capital city of the Leningrad Oblast and the second largest city in Russia, is home to the Hermitage Museum, which houses artworks by famous impressionist painters and artists. other doctor. It used to be the Winter Palace for the Romanov tsars.

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But now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, Maryland’s relationship with the state must change, Hogan said.

“[It] It is the duty of every government to remain vigilant against unlawful acts against public order, democratic principles and innocent civilians,” Hogan said. “Witnessing the gratuitous invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, I am obliged to immediately dissolve and terminate Maryland’s partnership with the Leningrad Region.”

Earlier that same day, Hogan attended a church service at the Ukrainian St. Michael the Archangel in East Baltimore.

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“Being there to attend mass and pray with everyone, I just think of my family and loved ones what they’re going through,” Hogan said after the ceremony. “But I want to show our support. We’re taking every action we can to voice that support. ”

According to Erik Hontz, deputy regional director at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Europe & Eurasia, a non-profit branch of the American Chamber of Commerce.

Hontz, a resident of Reservoir Hill, specializes in socio-economic issues in Ukraine and speaks Ukrainian. He says Hogan is working on one of the few tools available to countries to support Ukraine – but can do much more.

“I want the Attorney General of the State to ensure that Maryland fully complies with the sanctions package put in place by the United States government and to ensure that Maryland companies and professional services firms do not facilitate money laundering proceeds,” he said.

Hogan said after the ceremony that he intended to do just that. Maryland will take additional actions to ensure that Moscow does not benefit from any part of the state agency system, he said.

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“We’re not doing anything to support Russia in any way, in terms of their economy,” Hogan said.

Franchot added to the pressure by sending a letter to the Maryland State Pension Service and Retirement Systems CEO Martin Novan, urging him and other employees at the multibillion-dollar agency “immediately” divestment from any and all investments” in Russian companies or shares.

“Given the reasonable sanctions that the United States and other countries have imposed on Russia in response to their unjustified violent invasion of Ukraine, it will not only be financially unwise to maintain maintain any assets attached to Russian entities, but further perpetuate atrocities Dictators and legions of oligarchs have turned a blind eye to a regime defined by fear fear, violence and anti-democratic values,” said Franhot in the letter.

He noted that shares of the state pension system and held in Russian institutions have lost 51% of their market value.

“The risks associated with sanctions and other incentives along with [environmental, social, and governance criteria] Franchot said our investments in Russian entities are unviable. “As long as the current conflict persists, I hope that our fund managers will not make potential investments in Russian institutions.”

International expert and former Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, Peter Doran, said Hogan is doing the right thing by signaling that Maryland should not be associated with countries that break the law and invade neighboring countries. their neighbours.

“This move by Maryland is in line with actions that the country’s governors and countries around the world are taking — whether it’s closing their airspace to Russian planes or pouring Russian vodka. down the drain, the world is reacting to Russian aggression and Maryland’s response is welcome and necessary,” he said.

Franchot said he wanted to send a clear message that Maryland, the United States, and the free world “stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people — including the more than 26,000 Ukrainian Americans who proudly call Maryland home.”

Hogan said he even went as far as to give up his Russian vodka.

But while Maryland officials are focused on separating the state from Russia, they may also want to consider improving Maryland’s relationship with Ukraine, Hontz said.

Maryland could cooperate with Ukraine in other areas — such as cybersecurity — and further strengthen ties with the Eurasian nation, Hontz said.

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“I would like to note that Maryland is a leader in cybersecurity, and so is Ukraine,” he said.

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/02/28/governor-hogan-cuts-ties-with-marylands-sister-state-in-russia/ Maryland state officials cut ties with Russia, exerting economic pressure – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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