That Awful Russian Oligarch
The UK has imposed sanctions on Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, freezing his assets even after he vowed to sell off a major football club and donate the proceeds to victims of the war in Ukraine. The much-needed humanitarian aid is now in limbo amid a Western inquisition against all things Russian.
This is from Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter, “UK Sanctions Russian Billionaire, Barring Him From Aiding Ukrainians,” Antiwar.com, March 10, 2022.
In announcing the sanctions, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said “oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society,” and that their “close links to Putin” make them “complicit in his aggression.”
“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame,” she added.
However, Truss failed to explain how Abramovich is “complicit” in the Russian invasion. The industrialist – who also owns Millhouse Capital and holds a major stake in the steel and mining giant Evraz – has not endorsed the attack on Ukraine. In fact, in the press release announcing his plan to sell the team and create a charitable foundation for war victims, Abramovich appeared to sympathize with Ukrainians.
Fortunately, Ms. Truss was not around to prevent Oskar Schindler from selling pots and pans to the Nazis.
Note: I’m taking as given the idea that Abramovich is sincere in wanting to help Ukrainians. I could be wrong. But what I found interesting in researching this and finding a lot of denunciations of the guy is that no one who denounced him, at least no one that I could find, addressed the issue of what he planned to use the funds for. Their argument was no more complex than this: Abramovich had a relationship with Putin; Abramovich is rich; Putin probably helped make him rich; therefore we should freeze his assets even if he wants to use them to implicitly go against Putin.