EU removes three oligarchs from sanctions list

The EU has extended sanctions against hundreds of people because of the Russian attack on Ukraine. However, three Russian oligarchs were removed from the list.

Apparently the basis was not sufficient. The EU states have lifted sanctions against Russian businessman Alexander Shulgin a few days after a ruling by the European Union Court.

This emerges from the EU Official Journal on Thursday. The punitive measures against the entrepreneurs Farchad Akhmedov and Grigory Berjoskin were also lifted. For all three, the basis for the sanctions is viewed as too thin. They were imposed in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

The EU originally justified the punitive measures against Schulgin by saying that he was the managing director of a Russian platform for electronics trading. This means he is active in areas that serve as an important source of income for Russia. He took part in a meeting of oligarchs with President Vladimir Putin in February 2022. This proves that he supports political measures that threaten Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.

Is the Kremlin threatening oligarchs?

In the case of Akhmedov and Beryoskin, the EU obviously also saw the risk that they would be successful with lawsuits against the sanctions. Berjoskin was put on the sanctions list by the EU as an “abettor” of Putin. Akhmedov was also accused of being close to the Kremlin.

However, it is questionable whether those affected can really be happy about the EU decision in view of statements made by Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. On Thursday, Peskov placed some of the people suing against EU sanctions in a corner with people who recently had to fear for their lives in Russia. “We know that there are entrepreneurs who stoop to anti-Russian positions and who are trying (…) to get out of the sanctions,” he said in Moscow. “They are traitors.”

He left it unclear whether he was also referring to Shulgin, Akhmedov and Berjoskin. Peskov added: “There are entrepreneurs who systematically and methodically defend their interests in court. This is the right of every entrepreneur and we treat it with respect.”

Sanctions extended against hundreds of people

There was initially no official statement from the EU on the lifting of sanctions on Thursday. Diplomats pointed out that at the same time the punitive measures against hundreds of other people and companies had been extended until March 15, 2024. In total, almost 1,800 people and organizations are still affected.

The sanctions include travel restrictions. In addition, the assets of those affected in the EU must be frozen and it is forbidden to provide them with money or other economic resources.


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