Russian Businessmen Occasionally Punished

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Since the beginning of the special military operation and up to the current moment, more than 1,800 persons have fallen under the EU’s personal sanctions, which has significantly affected their businesses, personal assets, including bank accounts and real estate. But recently the policy towards Russian businessmen has started to change gradually.

Last week (September 13), sanctions were lifted from 4 Russian businessmen. Apparently, the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine made European leaders be on the safe side and impose sanctions to cover their bases, without deep analysis; on all those who could in theory be directly related to the Russian authorities.

According to Reuters, sanctions have been lifted from businessman Farkhad Akhmedov, Alexander Shulgin, former head of Ozon, and Grigory Berezkin, head of ESN Group. The fourth person is Georgy Shuvaev, a colonel of the Russian Armed Forces, a Hero of Russia, killed in action in the fall of 2022.

The loudest news in this context is indeed the lifting of sanctions from Alexander Shulgin, former CEO of Ozon, Russia’s largest marketplace. He was the head of Ozon from December 2017 to mid-April 2022, when EU sanctions were imposed because of his meeting with Putin. The reason for the sanctions was a suggestion that Shulgin openly supported Putin’s policy towards Ukraine. Now the European Court of Justice has recognised that this was a mistake.

The second person is Georgy Berezkin, head of ESN Group, which implements projects in the spheres of energy, engineering, media and venture investments. As for the third person, Farkhad Akhmedov, he is now mainly engaged in arts patronage and philanthropic activities. Previously, Farkhad owned 49% of shares in Nortgas gas company.

In general, the attitude towards Russians since March 2022 has been negative and suspicious, so many persons have been criticised. Often their references in the media was biased and carried negative connotations.

This is what happened to Boris Zingarevich, a businessman working in the paper and wood processing industries. Some time ago, Spanish media reported that a criminal case had been opened against him. However, this actually turned out to be a fake. The Ministry of Justice of Valencia officially refuted these speculations – the relevant documents are at our disposal. Similar materials have also appeared in relation to other Russian businessmen – for example, Vagit Alekperov, the former owner of Lukoil oil company. This shows once again the fact that the media have become a part of the big war against the Russians.

Considering the above, it may be noted that the EU authorities have a trend towards a well-considered and honest approach to assessing Russian businessmen activities. Feeling this trend, Russian businessmen are trying to show their apolitical nature in every possible way. And if common sense and the law prevail, we will see more than one more case of preposterous charges withdrawal.

In collaboration with Philip Malinkovski

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