WASHINGTON – The United States Congress approved last August a list of Russian oligarchs that included in the “Law to control the adversaries of the United States through sanctions” that President Donald Trump signed a few days ago.
They listed 210 figures linked to political and economic powers in Russia, which the Department of the Treasury selected and could be sanctioned in the future for their interference in the US elections and their actions in dividing Ukraine.
The media has already dubbed it the “Putin List”, in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When he referred to it before the journalists, the president joked. He said he was “offended” for not being included in it.
Putin also described the list as “an unfriendly act” that would complicate relations between the two powers.
The list establishes restrictions on US investments in Russia and its energy projects.
Although he signed it, President Donald Trump was against the law, which he described as “unconstitutional.”
The fact that he signed it ten minutes before midnight last Friday has been interpreted as an indication of his lack of enthusiasm in persisting on the path of sanctions against Russia.
The Treasury Department document that contains the list, states that “the inclusion of individuals or entities should not be interpreted in any way as the imposition of sanctions.”
According to Putin, Moscow will not retaliate to avoid an escalation .
However, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told senators in his country that “in the near future they will see more sanctions.”
Of the 210 names on the “Putin list”, 114 are members of the Russian government or linked to putin and the rest of the oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin.
These are the nine most outstanding:
1. Alexander Bortnikov
Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov is one of the key figures in the wheel of power in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. He runs the FSB, the Federal Security Service, the intelligence agency that succeeded the Soviet KGB.
Putin was a high regard of the KGB and since he has held the reins in Russia, has only relied on his most loyal to the direction of the state security apparatus. Borotnikov is one of them.
In 2007, the local press linked him to the death of Alexander Litvinenko, an ex-Russian secret agent who publicly accused the leaders of his country of corruption.
Information published in the Russian press claim that Borotnikov is the trusted security adviser to the prime minister, Dimitri Medvedev.
Born in 1958 in Perm, this railway training engineer participates since 2005 in the board of directors of Sovkomflot, a strategic state company dedicated to the maritime transport of gas and oil.
2. Sergu Narishkin
The other head of the Russian security apparatus is Serguei Narishkin.
Since 2016, he has been in charge of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and is one of Putin’s oldest allies.
It is believed that both have known each other since their early years of service in the KGB and in the mayor’s office in St. Petersburg, where Putin worked in the early 1990s.
Before directing the SVR, Narishkin was the head of the Kremlin Staff.
In 2015 he was accused of plagiarizing a large part of his doctoral thesis. He denied it.
3. Alexei Miller
Miller is the man who controls the vast Russian energy resources.
Born in 1962 in St. Petersburg, Alexei Borisovich Miller is the president of Gazprom, the largest state gas company.
His tenure in office, which he has held since 2001, reveals his solid position at the top of power in Putin’s Russia.
During his tenure, the company has undertaken a major international expansion.
It is believed that Miller is also responsible for the commitment to sports sponsorship that Gazprom has maintained and supported in recent years and that has influenced Russia to get the organisation to the next World Cup.
The relationship between Putin and Miller also arose at his time in St. Petersburg. According to published information, both are fans of the local team, Zenit.
4. Igor Sechin
If Miller is the gas man, Sechin is the oil man.
He is the head of Rosneft, the nations oil company, key in the supply of energy to Europe and one of the world’s largest producers of crude.
In 2009 the Russian edition of the magazine “Newsweek” named him politician of the year in Russia.
Just one more milestone in a race that also began for Putin in the years of St. Petersburg.
Sechin is considered one of the “Siloviki”, the men who have stood in the shadow of Putin since his years in the security forces, although the role he played in them was never known in detail.
Last November he declined to testify in the trial of former Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukaev, accused of corruption in a process that observers of Russian politics interpret as a covert power struggle in Russia.
5. Yuri Kovalchuk.
Head of the Bank of Russia, Yuri Valentinovich Kovalchuk, is one of the most prominent bankers in Russia.
He has been one of the targets of the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States.
Mr. Kovalchuk is one of those figures of which less details are known.
In information published by the Russian media, he has been described as “Putin’s cashier”.
According to Reuters, Kovalchuk was the host in 2013 of Putin’s daughter’s wedding, held at a ski resort.
6. Kiril Shamalov
Supposedly, he is the president’s son-in-law.
But the Kremlin has never confirmed the link of Katerina, the youngest of Putin’s daughters.
Shamalov was a 31-year-old businessman who tried to make his way in the business world when he says he married Katerina.
Since then, his fortune has not stopped growing.
Just 18 months after the hookup, Shamalov took a major stake in Sibur, a large Russian petrochemical company.
It was the first step in his ascent.
Recent estimates put the value of Shamalov’s shares in Sibur at nearly $3 billion.
Shamalov has always avoided commenting on the coincidence in timing between his success in business and his alleged membership in the president’s family.
7. Alisher Usmanov
He is the owner of a business and financial emporium that includes, among other listed assets, Arsenal, one of the most important football teams of the English “Premier League”.
It is his participation in Arsenal that made him gain international fame.
He started as a manufacturer of plastic bags in his native Uzbekistan.
The shortage of these items in the former USSR allowed him to amass a wealth that led him to climb to the top of economic power in Russia.
Between 2010 and 2014 he directed Gazprom.
It also owns shares in telecommunications companies and the steel giant Metalloinvest.
His nose for business became clear when he became one of the first investors in the Facebook project.
8. Roman Abramovich
Owner of Chelsea, the other great football club in London, Abramovich is the most outstanding example of the power of Russian magnates in European football.
He has always highlighted his excellent relations with the power in Russia.
The bulk of his fortune comes from his oil business. In 1990 he took control of Sibneft, in collaboration with Boris Berezovski, another prominent Russian millionaire.
The sale of Sibneft to state-owned Gazprom in 2005 gave him US $13,000 million.
Now he is focused on the metallurgical sector.
51 years old and with 7 children, he became the richest man in Russia, according to Forbes magazine.
He has the second largest yacht in the world.
9. Dimitry Peskov
Peskov is the visible face of the Russian government.
Born in Moscow in 1967, this graduate in studies of Oriental History and Translation, was forged as a senior official in a long diplomatic career, which began in the Foreign Ministry as early as the Soviet era.
Since 2008, Putin entrusted the spokesperson of the Kremlin, responsible for expressing official points of view.
Almost always, when sanctions are approved or a message interpreted as hostile in Moscow, it is Peskov who gives the official version and responds to the media.
Regarding the list of Russian citizens considered “adversaries of the United States,” Peskov said it is important “not to give in to emotions,” even when pointing to the top of the Russian state “has few precedents.”