Navalny allies urge sanctions on Putin allies over opposition leader’s death By Reuters

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By Lucy Papachristou

LONDON (Reuters) – Allies of the late Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Thursday that members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and wealthy oligarchs should be subjected to additional Western sanctions in order to punish Putin.

Navalny’s death in an Arctic prison colony in February dealt a massive blow to Russia’s scattered opposition. His team and his widow Yulia Navalnaya have repeatedly accused Putin of ordering his murder, without evidence. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in his death.

Navalny’s allies said on Thursday that Putin needed to pay a price for what had happened to Navalny.

“Vladimir Putin bears personal responsibility for the murder of Alexei Navalny, and our task is to seize every opportunity to respond to this heinous crime,” Navalny’s team wrote.

“Sanctions may be one such response, but only if they hurt Vladimir Putin himself and have an effect he cannot shrug off”.

Russian authorities cast Navalny and his supporters as extremists with links to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), seeking to destabilise Russia. They have outlawed his movement, forcing many of his followers to flee abroad.

Navalny’s team, who operate in exile, published three lists of 50 individuals, saying each should be targeted by the U.S., Britain and the European Union.

They include members of Putin’s inner circle, some of whom have known the president for decades, as well as businessmen, government officials and people whom Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) have previously investigated.

Businessmen Roman Abramovich, Vladimir Potanin and Leonid Mikhelson appear on the lists, as well as senior government figures such as deputy prime ministers Denis Manturov and Alexander Novak, Kremlin aide Nikolai Patrushev, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina. Igor Zelensky, the husband of Putin’s second daughter Katerina, also appears.

Many of the people are already sanctioned by Western countries.

The EU released a new package of sanctions on Monday targeting employees of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service as well as judges, prosecutors and members of the judiciary over human rights violations after Navalny’s death.

Alexander Pomazuev, a lawyer with FBK, appeared to dismiss the efficacy of those sanctions.

“Banning the employees of the Kharp colony (where Navalny died), who do not even have passports with visas, from travelling to London does not hurt anyone, including, of course, Putin himself”, Pomazuev said in a video posted on Navalny’s YouTube channel.

Navalny’s team said their proposal is designed to target Putin’s “corrupt money” and sow discord between the president and Russian oligarchs, whom Pomazuev said operate as “the Kremlin’s agents of influence where the Kremlin cannot act directly”.

© Reuters. A portrait of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is placed amid flowers at his grave the day after the funeral at the Borisovskoye cemetery in Moscow, Russia, March 2, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer/ File Photo

Putin, Pomazuev said, “does not care about the pain and suffering of most people”, but he “cannot ignore the fate of the oligarchs”.

“You cannot shut out your closest relatives, either”, Pomazuev said.

(Reporting and writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by David Gregorio)





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