The sanctions’ impacts have rippled across the business and sporting worlds as members of Putin’s inner circle have their assets frozen.
Here’s a look at some of the oligarchs close to the Kremlin who have commented on the war, and those who have stayed quiet.
Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Putin who made his fortune in the aluminum business, was slapped with sanctions on March 10 by the UK government, which noted Deripaska’s estimated wealth of £2 billion and stakes in En+ Group, a major energy company and owner of one of the world’s major aluminum producers.
Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Deripaska said on the Telegram messaging app: “Peace is very important! Negotiations need to start as soon as possible!”
“My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favorite city. But I have also spent much of my life as a citizen of Russia, building and growing businesses. I am deeply attached to Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both,” wrote Fridman.
Friedman called the violence a “tragedy,” adding “war can never be the answer” — but he stopped short of criticizing Putin directly.
The European Union sanctioned Abramovich last week, citing his “long and close ties to Vladimir Putin” and remarking that his “privileged access” to the president helped him “maintain his considerable wealth.”
Notable oligarchs have stayed quiet
Many Putin allies and members of his inner circle have not commented publicly on the war, potentially underscoring Fridman’s remarks that questioning the Russian leader comes with consequences. (slight tweaks for flow)
- Igor Sechin, Chief Executive of energy company Rosneft — a superyacht owned by Sechin was recently seized, according to the French finance ministry.
- Andrey Kostin, Chairman of VTB bank.
- Alexei Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom.
- Sergey Chemezov, head of state-owned defense company Rostec.
- Igor Shuvalov, chairman of Vnesheconombank.
- Nikolai Tokarev, president of Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft.
- Gennady Timchenko, founder and owner of Volga Group — an investment firm with a large stakehold in Russian gas producer Novatek.
- Arkady Rotenberg, owner of Mostotrest, the Russian construction company that helped build a bridge that linked the Crimean peninsula to Russia. The Rotenbergs are close friends of Putin’s.
All of whom have remained publicly silent on the war. CNN has reached out to each individual for comment.
Russian elite speak out
Comments from other high-profile figures, however, demonstrate that disapproval of the war could run deep among the nation’s elite.
“As a British citizen I ask you to save Europe from war. As a Russian patriot I plead that you prevent any more young Russian soldiers from dying needlessly. As a citizen of the world I ask you to save the world from annihilation,” he added.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was sanctioned by the US government on March 3 for being the “lead propagandist” of the Russian Federation. On Friday, Peskov’s wife and two of his adult children — including daughter Elizaveta Peskova — were also sanctioned by the US.
Peskova, who has more than 180,000 followers on Instagram, shared an anti-war message on her verified account the day after the invasion commenced, posting the hashtag #нетвойне, which means “no to war.”
A couple of hours later the message was deleted.
CNN’s Charles Riley, Evan Perez, Emiko Jozuka, Niamh Kennedy, George Ramsay, Vasco Cotovio, Nathan Hodge, Mike Callahan, Maria Angelova, Mariya Knight and Anna Chernova contributed to this report.