It has now become blindingly obvious that a sufficiently strong response to the russian aggression against Georgia would have prevented today’s war against Ukraine. There is little doubt that largely symbolic sanctions for the occupation of Crimea and the Donbass region became an impetus for the full-scale invasion. Unfortunately, against the backdrop of dead Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, the world is still playing at sanctions.
Instead of sanctioning putin’s criminal ruling class in full, withits entire oligarchy and each branch of government root to stem, the Western powers continue to tacitly offer safe havens to some of the ruling elite, who are then able to extend access to this curtesy to many more like themselves.
One such glaring omission is Andrey Guryev – a billionaire, a former senator for the Murmansk region, and another high profile member of the Mordor Judo Club. Together with his adult son and daughter, he is main beneficiary of PhosAgro, one of the world’s largest fertilizer producers.
While Mr. Guryev was recently added to the EU sanctioned persons list, he was quietly forgotten by the US and the UK. Whatever the reason for this may be, it is certainly not his low profile – Mr. Guryev happens to be the proud owner of Witanhurst, London’s second largest residential home after Buckingham Palace. Judging by the pictures, Witanhurst could house quite a few Ukrainian refugees.
The current selective approach to sanctions significantly undermines their overall effectiveness. A blanket strategy is what is needed, today. The list of people to be covered is common knowledge – names of senior employees of the executive, judicial and legislative branches of the russian government, both at the federal and regional levels, are a matter of the public record, and so is the Forbes’ top 200 of the russia’srichest people. There is no excuse not to act.