Since the invasion of Ukraine began, governments from Europe to Asia have declared sanctions against banks, security companies and the Russian elite. The inclusion of the president in the list is meaningless, as no one has so far been able to quantify and place his fortune. The only way would be to go out against his associates who run his fortune.
As the suffocation belt tightens around Kyiv, around the world continue to condemn the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin and expose stricter sanctions that will be imposed on the country and its top individuals – Putin at the forefront.
There was an escalation on Friday when the EU, Britain and the US announced a freeze on the Russian president’s assets. Europe also included its foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, but in order to maintain the appearance of open diplomatic channels, the sanctions do not include travel restrictions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP)
However, they may remain on paper only, as Putin’s fortune and wealth are a mystery. Over the years, analysts, economists and officials close to the Russian ruler have tried to quantify his assets. Estimates, ranging from $ 70 billion to $ 200 billion, place him at the top of the world wealth, perhaps even at the top. In an interview with the Guardian in 2015, the exiled Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev claimed that any attempt to assess Putin’s worth was meaningless. “Everything that belongs to the territory of the Russian Federation, Putin considers his property. Its value can not be calculated,” he noted.
Forbes magazine, which publishes its annual list of billionaires every year, claims the same. “This is probably the most elusive puzzle in locating wealth – harder than the fortunes of heirs, other heads of state and even drug lords whose fortunes we have exposed over the years,” the magazine wrote last month.
Official documents released by the Kremlin each year indicate a modest annual income of $ 117,000 and a small apartment with a garage in which Putin owns two Soviet Lada cars and a Lada Vida SUV. Critics question the veracity of these reports. Bill Browder, an American businessman, formerly Russia’s biggest foreign investor and now one of Putin’s most vocal critics, testified before Congress that he was one of the richest people in the world with a fortune of $ 200 billion. “He keeps his money in the West and all that money is potentially exposed to freezing and confiscation,” he said.
A number of luxury properties have been linked over the years to the name of the Russian ruler, the most famous of whom has earned the nickname “Putin’s Palace”. The mansion on the shores of the Black Sea, the most protected compound in Russia, has a helicopter pad, a church, a gas station and a wine cave carved into the mountain
A number of luxury properties have been linked over the years to the name of the Russian ruler, the most famous of whom, built at an estimated cost of $ 1 billion, is known as “Putin’s Palace.” The mansion on the shores of the Black Sea has a helicopter pad, a church, an ice palace, a gas station and a wine cave carved into the mountain, in addition to saunas, a Turkish bath, a casino and a cinema hall. The palace is also reportedly the most protected compound in Russia. Boris Namstov, a Putin critic who was assassinated in 2015, published a document documenting the president’s glorious life. Namstov numbered 15 helicopters, four yachts, a private jet with a gold toilet and a collection of watches worth about half a billion dollars.
Putin’s Palace (Photo: Wikipedia)
Based on Browder, the West could hurt Putin’s fortune through a circle of associates, a claim that has risen again since the escalation. “Putin made a deal with the Russian elite. ‘Give me 50 percent of your capital and I’ll let you keep the remaining 50 percent,” according to Browder, who told Forbes. “If not, he will take the 100 percent and throw them in jail.” Although Putin’s name did not come up in the Panama Papers leak in 2015, some of his closest friends, it was revealed, hold hundreds of millions of dollars in tax havens. According to Browder, the most effective way to impose sanctions on Putin is to go against the 50 or so oligarchs who run Putin’s fortune. “That’s what will stop him,” he tweeted.
The West has already chosen this channel. The punitive measures announced earlier focus on freezing the assets of leading Russian banks in the various countries, as well as the assets of capitalists considered close to Putin. Aside from financial institutions, the sanctions are directed against prominent Russian companies in the security sector with the aim of weakening Russia’s ability to continue to develop its army. Another channel to which punitive artillery is aimed is the high-tech field, which is also linked in the defense industries.
Dramatic and thorough moves will be required
These moves are taken not only as a means of immediately disconnecting oxygen from the Russian war machine, but also affecting its leading sectors in the long run. This is mainly due to the understanding that Russia’s economy has come a long way since the 2014 crisis, and will therefore require dramatic and thorough moves to bring about the desired results.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday unveiled a round of sanctions he described as “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions ever imposed on Russia”. Johnson told lawmakers that Putin is an “attacker with blood on his hands” who will suffer condemnation from all over the world and history due to the invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions include the freezing of assets in the UK by the major banks in Russia and their exclusion from the financial system. This means they will not have access to the British currency and will not be able to transfer payments through the UK. In addition, large Russian companies will not be able to raise capital or borrow money in the British markets.
Also the assets of 100 individuals and companies, including Putin’s ex-son-in-law, Kirill Shmalov, and Peter Fredkov, CEO of Promsvyazbank, on which sanctions were also imposed. Uralvagonzavod tanks.Also, Russia’s national airline Aeroflot will not be allowed to land in the UK.
Additional sanctions include a ban on the export of components that could be used for military and civilian purposes, and at the same time the UK will stop exporting items to the high-tech industry and oil refining equipment. Yes, there will be a restriction on Russian deposits in the UK. Johnson concluded by saying that there were still options for further sanctions, including Russia’s removal from the SWIFT payment system. He added that the sanctions would also apply to Belarus due to the assistance it provided to Russia when it allowed it to attack its territory.
Sanctions are taken not only as a means to immediately disconnect oxygen from the Russian war machine, but also to have a long-term impact. This is mainly due to the understanding that Russia’s economy has come a long way since the 2014 crisis and will require dramatic moves to achieve results.
The EU has also announced the extension of sanctions. European Commission President Ursula von der Lane and French President Emmanuel Macron have unveiled new measures and pledged to have “maximum impact on the Russian economy and political elite.”
The sanctions are directed against the financial, energy and transportation sectors and include restrictions on exports and bans on trade financing. According to von der Lane, the current sanctions go against 70% of the Russian banking sector and government companies “and will not allow Russia to upgrade its refineries.” The union also restricts deposits of Putin’s associates, and intends to restrict Russia’s access to sensitive technology for aircraft parts production.
“Putin has chosen this war,” U.S. President Joe Biden declared, revealing further sanctions against Russia that include restrictions on technology exports, which he claims will hit hard on its ability to advance its military as well as its aviation industry. According to the White House, the new sanctions include Restrictions on semiconductor exports, telecommunications equipment, encrypted security, lasers, sensors, navigation equipment and aviation technology. The US has also imposed sanctions on Russian banks and “corrupt billionaires” and their families close to Putin. It will also ban 13 large public companies from raising capital in the country, including energy giant Gazprom and Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution. The White House also intends to impose sanctions on companies from Belarus.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced that his country will impose sanctions on financial institutions in Russia, military organizations and individuals. The measures include freezing assets of individuals and financial institutions and banning exports to military organizations.
In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country would “begin imposing further sanctions on oligarchs, whose economic weight is of strategic importance to Moscow and more than 300 members of the Russian parliament.” Morrison added that Australia is working in partnership with the US to impose sanctions, which will also apply to senior Belarus officials.
New Zealand has declared a ban on the export of goods to the Russian army and the country’s security forces. Prime Minister Jessinda Arden has announced that her country will sever trade ties with Russia and ban Russian officials from entering the country. “Here and now we must take immediate action,” she said at a news conference.
February 27, 2022, published by The Calcalist.