The West will impose more sanctions on Russian entities and individuals, which will affect the lifestyle of the Russian elite. In some cases, the restrictions will limit the access of persons who are on the “blacklist” to the property. However, most often they mean the end of travel to Western countries.
Vladimir Putin, subject to US, EU, UK and Canadian sanctions, is the third head of state in EU history to be blacklisted. Previously, these were the leaders of Syria and Belarus: Bashar al-Assad and Alexander Lukashenko. Sanctioned people – now nearly 900 Russian citizens – are not allowed to travel to EU countries. Their assets in the union have been frozen. However, Putin was allowed to enter the EU if talks were held.
Sanctions against Russia
The United States of America, the European Union, Great Britain and Japan imposed sanctions on Putin’s two daughters: Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova. According to the representatives of the United States, they hide the property of their father. “We believe that many of Putin’s assets are hidden in family members and therefore they are our target,” a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, independent Russian portals believe that Putin’s daughters travel a lot, sometimes together – in 2020 they celebrated the New Year in Germany. The investigative website Insider listed more than a dozen overseas trips to Vorontsov after 2014: Putin’s alleged eldest daughter visited Munich, Amsterdam, Naples, Vienna, Nice, Hanover, Berlin, Athens and Paris at the time. Tikhonov, whom the media agree is Putin’s youngest daughter, from 2015 to 2019 visited Munich at least 21 times, Zurich four times, and three times to Milan and Vienna, and also to: Stuttgart, Helsinki, Brussels, Rome, Copenhagen and Nice. and London. If this data is correct, it means that Putin’s daughters visited NATO countries several times after 2014, that is, after the annexation of Crimea, amid the escalation of confrontation between Russia and the West.
Sanctions of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, along with Canada, Australia and Japan, were imposed on the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov. The United States imposed sanctions on the minister’s wife, Maria, and daughter, Ekaterina Winokurwa. Lavrov, as the head of diplomacy, was allowed to enter the European Union. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the minister has no assets abroad. However, independent media in Russia published materials about the alleged origins of his relatives, and if they are true, then this means that people closely related to the head of Russian diplomacy have significant assets abroad.
In the fall of 2021, the Waznyje Istorii website published materials about Svetlana Bulakowa, whom journalists consider Lavrov’s life companion. According to journalists, Polina’s daughter from her first marriage – Polina – completed her studies in Great Britain and is now the owner of several companies. In 2016, she rented an apartment in Kensington, one of the most expensive apartments in London, for 999 years for £4.4 million. The Waznyje Istorii portal asserted that such a long-term contract was a “fairly common form of indirect ownership” in Great Britain. At the time of the decade, the Pole’s daughter was only 21 years old.
The “black list” of the United States and the European Union
For the first time, Western sanctions affect not only high-ranking Russian officials, but also their relatives. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, his wife Tatyana Naoka and two of several children: Jelizaveta (Lisa) and Nikolai, are included in the US “blacklist” of the United States and the European Union. In the past, Lisa Pesqua gained fame after describing her luxurious life abroad on Instagram, and she was also a trainee in the European Parliament. Following the announcement of the sanctions decision, she told the media that she was bitter because she wanted to travel and considered it unfair.
US, EU and UK sanctions, which provide for a ban on entry to the EU and a freeze of assets there, apply to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The same sanctions apply to the two deputy prime ministers of the Russian government, the head and deputy head of Putin’s Chancellery (administration), some ministers, military leaders, parliamentarians, bankers, businessmen and journalists associated with media propaganda. The US “black list” includes: former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, current Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and the mayors of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharoa is under sanctions from the European Union, Great Britain and Australia.
Switzerland, which usually maintains sanctions, also adopted a package of severe restrictions at the end of February. In addition to the adoption of financial sanctions against Putin, Lavrov and Mishustin, among others, the entry ban of five oligarchs.
On April 8, the European Union announced that it had so far frozen assets worth about 30 billion euros, owned by oligarchs from Russia and Belarus. These ia yachts, helicopters, real estate and works of art. Property, yachts and planes owned by Russian officials and businessmen were arrested in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Britain and Finland. Those among the rich in Russia, who were deprived of a large part of their property as a result of sanctions, were forced to live at a different standard. On the other hand, those who fear restrictions will rewrite their valuable assets for other people.
The impact of sanctions on the Russian elite can only be judged indirectly. In Great Britain itself, it was recognized that the wealth of the oligarchy – sometimes unfairly acquired, sometimes tied to the Kremlin – was hidden behind a network of shell companies registered in tax havens. Information about the origins of Russian officials located abroad appeared in materials published by independent media and dissident Alexei Navalny. The names of people from Putin’s periphery, such as cellist Sergey Rodugin, appeared in the high-profile Panama Papers. The media that published it admitted that Rodogen is the owner of companies registered in tax havens with assets estimated at billions of dollars.
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