A new round of US sanctions targeting Russian elites includes a woman named in news reports as Vladimir Putin’s longtime romantic partner. The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the government has frozen the visa of Alina Kabaeva, an Olympic gymnast in her youth and former member of the state Duma, and imposed other property restrictions. The department said she is also head of a Russian national media company that promotes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Critics of the Kremlin and imprisoned Russian rights campaigner Alexey Navalny have been calling for sanctions against Kabaeva, saying her news outlet took the lead in portraying Western commentary on the invasion as a disinformation campaign.
The UK sanctioned Kabaeva in May and the EU imposed travel and asset restrictions on her in June. Also named in Treasury’s latest sanctions package is Andrey Grigoryevich Guryev, an oligarch who owns the Witanhurst estate, a 25-bedroom mansion that is the second-largest estate in London after Buckingham Palace. His USD 120 million yacht, the Alfa Nero, was also identified as blocked property. Also sanctioned was his son Andrey Andreevich Guryev and his son’s Russian investment firm Dzhi AI Invest OOO.
Christian Contardo, a former Treasury attorney now at Lowenstein Sandler LLP says ”what we’ve seen is that the US government has identified that a lot of oligarchs are using family as a way to evade sanctions.” ”Some of the oligarchs will transfer ownership to their wives and children,” he said. In April, the US imposed sanctions on Putin’s adult daughters Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova.
Russian steel manufacturer Publichnoe Aktsionernoe Obschestvo Magnitogorskiy Metallurgicheskiy Kombinat, also known as MMK, its chairman of the board of directors, Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov, and its subsidiaries, were also designated for financial penalties. Additionally, the State Department reported today that 893 Russian Federation officials, including Federation Council and military members, will have their visas blocked.
”As innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded opulent lifestyles,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.
”Together with our allies, the United States will also continue to choke off revenue and equipment underpinning Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated US support ”for the brave people of Ukraine and will continue to promote accountability for President Putin and his cronies whose actions have caused so much suffering and destruction in Ukraine.”