In an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, the Russian politician ALEXEY A. NAVALNY states his ideas for the isolation and hopefully return to reality of Russia’s territory- and influence-hungry leader President Putin.
He states that the so-called ‘sanctions’ imposed by both America and Europe amount to little more than a slap on the wrist, and Putin, along with his super-rich criminal friends, would not even notice the fly-swats of these financial and travel sanctions from a bunch who are too nervous to use anything which might disturb their cosy trade and financial links with this dictator-in-waiting. He writes: –
First, although Mr. Putin’s invasion has already prompted the European Union to impose sanctions on 21 officials, and the United States on seven, most of these government figures cannot be considered influential. They do not have major assets outside Russia and are irrelevant to Mr. Putin; sanctioning them will not change Russia’s policy. After all the tough talk from Western politicians, this action is mocked in Russia and even seen as a tacit encouragement to Mr. Putin and his entourage, who seem to possess some magical immunity.
Instead, Western nations could deliver a serious blow to the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by the Kremlin’s cronies who shuttle between Russia and the West. This means freezing the oligarchs’ financial assets and seizing their property.
Such sanctions should primarily target Mr. Putin’s inner circle, the Kremlin mafia who pillage the nation’s wealth, including Gennady N. Timchenko, head of the Volga Group; Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, influential businessmen and former judo sparring partners of Mr. Putin; Yuri V. Kovalchuk, a financier believed to be Mr. Putin’s banker; Vladimir I. Yakunin, president of Russian Railways; the oligarchs Roman A. Abramovich and Alisher B. Usmanov; and Igor I. Sechin and Aleksei B. Miller, the heads of Rosneft and Gazprom, respectively.
The sanctions must also hit the oligarchs whose media outlets parrot the regime lines, and target Mr. Putin’s entire “war cabinet”: the TV spin doctors, compliant Duma members and apparatchiks of Mr. Putin’s United Russia Party.
Just imagine the ‘angst’ and fury of, for instance, Chelsea supporters if the thief who has bankrolled their precious club was barred from even getting into his plush directors box seating, because all Abramovitch’s financial assets were seized by the British financial authorities as part of the collective punishment dealt out to friends of ex-KGB agent President Putin. Just imagine if even one of his super-yachts was confiscated whilst anchored in the waters around Monte Carlo. The screams of anguish would resound around the world, as all the oligarchs, who have pranced around the worlds’ capitals, insulated from the plebs by a huge financial cushion of (usually) stolen money; were forced to return to a Moscow which was suddenly very, very cold?