İrem UZUN -TDO- Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has called on the European Union to target the "bunch of criminals" surrounding President Vladimir Putin with sanctions. Speaking on November 27 at a video conference with MEPs, the Kremlin critic said Russia's oligarchs had "temporarily seized power” and the 27-nation bloc must develop a new strategy for its relations with Moscow.
Navalny, who has spent years investigating corruption in the Russian political elite, said that instead of targeting those directly responsible for executing criminal orders, a more powerful move would be to target the Kremlin’s financial pillars. “There is no sense to sanction colonels or generals or people who are definitely not travelling a lot or have bank accounts in Europe,” he said.
Navalny accused European politicians of hypocrisy by allowing oligarchs who grew rich off of Putin’s authoritarian rule, such as Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich - billionaires who own stakes in UK football clubs - to keep luxury boats in European ports. “Let me say it very straight as long as the most expensive yacht of Usmanov is standing in Barcelona or in Monaco, no one in Russia or in the Kremlin even - they will not treat European sanctions seriously,” Navalny said. “They just think that they are playing the European Union.” He said sanctions against oligarchs such as Usmanov and Abramovich would be welcomed by 99% of Russians.