Luka’s long-time friend

EU sanctions Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev over ties to the Belarusian regime

On June 21, the European Union imposed sanctions on Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev (whose $2.5-billion fortune puts him in 60th place on the Forbes Russian billionaires list). This came as part of a package of restrictive measures against Belarus, adopted in response to the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk and the arrest of Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and Russian citizen Sofia Sapega. As a result, Gutseriev is subject to an asset freeze and banned from entering or transiting through the bloc’s territories, and EU citizens and companies are forbidden from providing him with funds. Meduza breaks down the highs and lows of Mikhail Gutseriev’s business dealings in Russia and his far-reaching connections in Belarus.

Fall down twice, stand up twice

The head of one of the richest families in Russia (according to Forbes), Mikhail Gutseriev is a tenacious businessman with diverse interests. He has suffered major business losses on two occasions already, but managed to regain his position both times. For several years, he was the president of the Russian-Belarusian oil and gas company Slavneft. In 2002, he tried to defend the company from privatization, but lost the fight after two months of desperate battles (in the literal sense of the word).

Having lost Slavneft, Gutseriev managed to put together his own oil company, RussNeft, from scattered assets — but he lost it in 2007 (after being pressured to sell the company to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska) and fled to London under threat of criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, Gutseriev was able to do the impossible: he made peace with the authorities, bought RussNeft back from Deripaska, and returned to Russia three years later.

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