The Search for Russian Oligarchs is Open, by Ibrahim Warda (Le Monde Diplomatic, September 2022)

Riches built on the ruins of the Soviet Union

The first to benefit from Russia’s economic liberalization in the early 1990s, the oligarchy faced mixed fortunes at the time of sanctions. Accused by Western powers of being close to Vladimir Putin or Moscow of treason, this wealthy class no longer enjoys the tolerance it had long enjoyed in the West.

Kirill Shilochkin. – “ The first snow. Storm “,” 2012

sI According to the list published by the American magazine every year Forbes Russia alone has 83 billionaires in US dollars in 2022, down from the previous year, when the number was 117. In one year, the oligarchs lost an average of 27 % of their wealth. The severe sanctions imposed by the West on February 24, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are beginning to have their effects, which come on top of the difficulties associated with the war itself. But, still according to estimates Forbes If twenty-five Russian billionaires have been sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom or the European Union, at least fifty others are not or are not yet concerned.

On March 1, during his State of the Union address, President Joseph Biden announced the creation of his country’s Department of Justice Special task force to prosecute the crimes of Russian oligarchs “. To the applause of US elected officials, he delivered this warning to billionaires who support Mr. Vladimir Putin: We partner with our European allies to find and take possession of your yachts, luxury apartments and private jets. We will target your illegal gains. » However, the implementation of sanctions is full of pitfalls, as evidenced by the case of Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club until last June, who is the most famous oligarch in the world. The latter has been placed under sanctions in the European Union and the United Kingdom, but not in the United States. It was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky himself who requested that he be excused for the time being from his role as mediator between Russia and Ukraine.

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Inequality of gruesome proportions

Mr. Abramovich, who holds Russian, Israeli and Portuguese nationalities, is well aware (…)

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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