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Are Sanctioned Russian Oligarchs Turning on Putin?

by WOOWinvest
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Are Sanctioned Russian Oligarchs Turning on Putin?

An increasingly tight noose of sanctions around Russian elites could turn them against President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to deter any further aggression against Ukraine.

Putin said in a fiery and threatening speech on Wednesday that he was wary of any Russians who might try to influence his war effort.

He said “those who earn money here but live there” are seen by the Kremlin as a “fifth column” that will be actively used “to divide our society”.

“I’m not going to judge someone who owns a villa in Miami or the French Riviera. Or someone who can’t live without oysters or foie gras or so-called ‘gender freedom’.” The problem is that they exist there spiritually , not here, with our people, with Russia,” he said.

“The West will try to bet on the so-called fifth column, bet on traitors … to divide our society … to provoke civil confrontation … to try to achieve its goals. And there is only one goal , i.e. destroy Russia.”

Why are oligarchs now turning to Putin?

An international list of bans on bank accounts, assets, luxury goods and anything of value held by Russian oligarchs near the Kremlin has cost some of them billions of dollars.

In just three weeks, the wealth of some 400 or so Russians sanctioned by the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom has lost as much as two-thirds of Bloomberg Billionaires Index participants.

Now, some economically minded elites may have splintered into a divisive group desperately trying to persuade Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s public warning came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the US Congress for more aid.

It also heightens the likelihood that some oligarchs will express dissatisfaction with the war, as Putin tries to maintain support for his war and foreign policy goals.

Are oligarchs really hit that hard?

While there is solid evidence that sanctioned Russians have been using cryptocurrency exchanges to launder money and use rubles to buy cryptocurrencies — a currency that has fallen sharply — it is clear that some oligarchs have gone to war without a backup plan.

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The humiliation of the rich is always closely watched by the public,

But the public downfall of some Russian oligarchs brought a special kind of schadenfreude, some of whom tracked their yachts, jets and jewelry with the passion many have for sport.

The plight of some sanctioned persons is enormous, if judged by the standards of inconvenience.

Billionaire Roman Abramovich frantically tried to sell his football franchise, London estate and superyacht early – only to be unceremoniously approved days later.

Sales of these assets have not yet been reported.

Another close Russian, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, is not even on the sanctions list, but his yacht remains stranded in Norway, where locals refuse to refuel it in case just in case.

Some have even had their children expelled from elite private schools, while children in the UK face fresh reckoning on Tuesday when the government begins a fresh crackdown.

In the process, London police found themselves trying to little success to drag protesters out of an oligarch’s unoccupied home in a posh neighborhood.

So what happens?

With these lifestyle changes on the horizon, it’s not surprising that economically wounded Russians with any ties to the Kremlin might lobby for an end to the discomfort.

However, a new Bloomberg dossier outlines that most oligarchs have no influence over Putin. So far, nothing has changed Putin’s determination to make Ukraine part of Russian territory.

Moreover, anyone familiar with Putin or his background and goals may immediately know that meddling in his ambitions could backfire. But just in case they were wondering, Putin’s speech this week was a powerful and direct reminder.

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