EU lifts sanctions on Arkadii Volozh, founder of Yandex, who spoke out against the war in Ukraine

The European Union has removed Yandex founder Arkadii Volozh from its sanctions lists. This follows from an update in the Journal of the European Council.

Also removed from the sanctions were former vice president of AFK Sistema Sergei Mndoyants and the president of the European branch of the motorcycle club Night Wolves Josef Humblek.

In addition, the sanctions were lifted from the dead: the commander of Wagner  PMC Dmitry Utkin, Duma deputies Nikolai Bortsov and Viktor Zubarev, Deputy Defense Minister Gennadii Zhidko and Lieutenant General Oleg Tsokov. However, the founder of Wagner PMC Evgenii Prigozhin, who died last August together with Utkin, was not removed from the sanctions list. This is because the son of the businessman became the beneficiary of his assets, which can still be used against Ukraine.

Arkadii Volozh, the founder of Yandex, came under sanctions in June 2022. At the same time he announced that he would leave the position of CEO of the group of companies, the Board of Directors and leave senior positions in international “subsidiaries”. In December 2022, Volozh wrote to employees that he was leaving Yandex.

Last August, the businessman spoke publicly for the first time about the war in Ukraine, calling it a “barbaric invasion”. “I am horrified by the fact that every day bombs are flying into the homes of Ukrainians. Despite the fact that I have not lived in Russia since 2014, I realize that I also have a share of responsibility for the country’s actions”, Volozh said.

Before that, he removed from his website almost all references to ties to Russia and the USSR and now calls himself an Israeli entrepreneur born in Kazakhstan. After the anti-war statement, Volozh’s lawyers asked the EU authorities to lift sanctions against him, the Financial Times wrote, citing sources.

The EU recognized the sanctions against Volozh as “unjustified from a legal point of view”, informed sources told Reuters. In particular, they noted that “the legal arguments in court against Volozh have weakened given the proposed full divestiture”.

Vladimir Putin linked Volozh’s statement to his desire to “save money and tie his life to another country”. “Well God grant him health, may he live well there”, he said.

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