ACF proposed the U.S. Senate to investigate how Putin's agents avoid sanctions

March 28, 2024

The Anti-Corruption Foundation suggests that the U.S. Senate establish a task force dedicated to examining journalistic and public inquiries into sanctions evasion. The findings of this group should then be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for formal investigation. Collaboration with representatives of Russian civil society is essential for the effective operation of such a task force.

We've dispatched this and other proposals outlining an anti-corruption strategy to the U.S. Senate. Here's a summary of our proposal:

Yulia Navalnaya highlighted that Putin should not be viewed merely as a politician, but rather as the head of a mafia group. Similar to the workings of such groups, Putin's power structure relies on personal connections, reciprocal favors, and unofficial commitments. Consequently, anyone who benefited significantly from the regime ought to be considered as a potential agent of the regime. This encompasses not only high-ranking officials and oligarchs, whose assets are inherently intertwined with the state but also their family members and proxies.

Even if they are outside of Russia, individuals remain subject to the regime's influence, as it can exert control over them at any given moment, reminding them of the importance of their allegiances. Thus, they function as agents, advancing their interests on the global stage.

Membership in a mafia group loses its allure when members realize they cannot safeguard their families and ill-gotten gains outside of Russia. This underscores the potency of personal sanctions, which should target not only Putin's inner circle but also the intermediary stratum of the elite. They must comprehend that they face a choice between serving Putin and securing their future after his death.

We emphasized to the senators the importance of not disregarding supporters of the Russian regime within international organizations, even if they seem disconnected from politics at first glance. One example is the International Olympic Committee, where the Russian athlete Yelena Isinbayeva is involved. These individuals have supported Putin's regime for years, and despite the outbreak of the war, they persistently maintain their positions, continuing to wield influence behind the scenes.

A corrupt regime relies heavily on a steady stream of income. Its survival is intricately linked to the export of raw materials. Disrupting these revenue streams not only undermines the regime's capacity to secure loyalty and expand its web of corruption but also impedes Russia's capability to wage war.

The effort to impose sanctions must persist and be conducted in collaboration with civil society. Media outlets, investigative journalists, and non-governmental organizations diligently investigate open sources for any indications of sanctions evasion. Even when their evidence may be incomplete, they can still identify paths for further investigation utilizing techniques typically available only to state entities. Establishing a task force to evaluate investigation outcomes and guide subsequent state-level inquiries would be beneficial. The Anti-Corruption Foundation stands prepared to contribute its expertise in this domain.


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