Russian Billionaires Resist Western Sanctions

Phương Tây’s Continuous Sanctions on Russian Oligarchs


Phương Tây, or the West, has been consistently imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs in an attempt to exert pressure on Moscow to end the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. These sanctions target influential Russian businesspeople and their families, with the hope that the punishment will create enough pressure for President Vladimir Putin to seek a resolution.

Year-Long Pressure on Moscow

More than a year ago, Phương Tây heightened its pressure on Moscow by imposing sanctions on over 100 prominent Russian businessmen and their families. The West aimed to make these oligarchs pay a price, with the hope that it would compel President Putin to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine. The extent of the impact on these high-profile billionaires is unprecedented, according to George Voloshin, a sanctions expert at the UK’s Association of Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.

The Reasoning Behind Targeting Oligarchs

Western officials argue that targeting wealthy Russian businessmen is part of their broader efforts to curb Russia’s actions. They argue that these oligarchs should not be allowed to lead normal lives while the Kremlin has not ended the conflict in Ukraine. The strategic objective of these sanctions is to diminish support for Putin by targeting politically and economically influential figures, as explained by John Smith, a former director at the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Mixed Results and Ongoing Conflict

After more than a year, Smith admits that the West has not fully achieved its intended goals with regard to the oligarchs. However, he notes that it doesn’t mean the sanctions have been unsuccessful. The conflict in Ukraine continues unabated, with almost no Russian billionaires openly criticizing President Putin or divesting their assets in Russia. This lack of public dissent creates challenges for the effectiveness of the sanctions.

In response, some Russian oligarchs have chosen to resist the sanctions through legal means in European courts. For instance, the lawyers of billionaire Roman Abramovich have recently appeared in a Luxembourg court to challenge the European Union’s decision regarding his case. They argue that the sanctions have hindered Abramovich’s participation in meaningful peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Unfair Targeting and Backlash

Eugene Shvidler, a former partner of Abramovich, has become the first Russian billionaire to challenge the United Kingdom’s sanctions. He claims that the sanctions imposed by London have inflicted undue suffering on his family and are an unjust measure. It is worth noting that many Russian billionaires have abstained from publicly criticizing the government or the Ukrainian conflict due to concerns about their assets within Russia.

Effectiveness of Sanctions

The limitations and effectiveness of sanctions have been subjects of debate among experts. While the sanctions have significantly impacted affected individuals and their families, experts like Voloshin argue that they have not yielded desired policy outcomes. In some cases, sanctions may provoke backlash among the targeted groups, potentially leading them to oppose Western pressure.

Specific Cases and Examples

The article also highlights specific cases. For instance, Oleg Deripaska, known as the “Aluminum King,” had a luxurious hotel complex in Sochi confiscated by a Russian court while he remained subject to sanctions imposed by the US, UK, and EU. Furthermore, the article mentions Roman Abramovich’s frequent travels between Russia, Turkey, and Israel, as he navigates the challenges brought about by the sanctions.

Putin’s Call for Return

President Putin has called on Russian businessmen to repatriate their assets, stating that relying on foreign funds is illogical and unlikely to bring desired results. As the oligarchs face difficulties accessing their assets in the West, some may become more reliant on their assets within Russia and the protection offered by President Putin.


The continuous sanctions on Russian oligarchs by Phương Tây have aimed to increase pressure on Moscow to end the conflict in Ukraine. However, the efficacy of these sanctions has faced challenges, as many billionaires abstain from publicly criticizing the government or divesting their Russian assets. The intricate relations between the sanctions, the ongoing conflict, and the targeted individuals make it difficult to determine their overall impact and effectiveness in achieving desired policy outcomes.

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