To put a halt to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed tough sanctions on Russian banks, enterprises, and oligarchs
Oligarchs are extraordinarily wealthy businessmen with political and social influence. They are frequently, but not always, intimately tied to a country’s top political leaders.
Who are Russian oligarchs?
Russia’s first oligarchs built their fortunes in the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the government sold its assets to private bidders, often in corrupt arrangements. During this time, well-to-do business people, former politicians, and entrepreneurs used any means to buy extensive holdings in Russian firms involved in oil and gas, metals and mining, railway and transportation, agricultural goods, and other essential industries.
Consequently, these individuals obtained enormous wealth and gained the authority necessary to control the government as a result of their newly acquired corporate ownership. They formed an oligarchy, a form of governance in which a small group of “oligarchs” are in charge.
Putin took office in the year 2000. The government at the time was ruled in part by highly dysfunctional oligarchs. Putin pushed the oligarchs out of politics to consolidate his power.
A few oligarchs left the country, while others were forced to flee, imprisoned, or had their possessions taken. For the most part, those who stayed opted to stay out of politics and leave it to Putin. Others acquired citizenship in other countries and invested their money in the West.
A new group of oligarchs grew wealthy due to their links to Putin, who has dominated Russia since 2000. Putin has used tycoons and their companies as instruments in his political activities. However, many of today’s oligarchs are current or former Putin officials.
Who are the Russian oligarchs targeted in sanctions?
Many of the sanctions are aimed at Russia’s wealthiest citizens, many of whom have links to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The United States published a list of the companies and individuals involved. The expectation is that the connections of these individuals’ to Vladimir Putin will put more pressure on the Russian president to end the conflict.
Sports teams, banks, yachts, newspapers, and luxury real estate are just some of the assets these billionaires own that will be frozen. They will also be banned from entering certain countries.
Here is a list of some of the people facing sanctions:
- Alisher Usmanov, a billionaire who formerly controlled 30% of Arsenal Football Club
- Igor Shuvalov, Putin’s advisor and former Russian deputy prime minister
- Denis Bortnikov, vice president of the state-owned VTB bank in Russia
- Kirill Shamalov, Russia’s youngest billionaire
- Pyotr (Petr) Fradkov, chairman and CEO of Promsvyazbank
- Yury Slyusar, general director of United Aircraft Corporation
- Gennady Timchenko, billionaire and ally of Putin
- Boris Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Putin and a co-owner of SMP Bank
- Igor Rotenberg, son of billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of Putin
- Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund
- Elena Aleksandrovna Georgieva, CEO of Novikombank, which bankrolls Russia’s biggest defense company, Rostec