In an unexpected turn of events, Arkady Volozh, the billionaire co-founder of Russian technology giant Yander, has made an impassioned plea to the European Union to lift sanctions imposed on him, following his public condemnation of Russia's war in Ukraine.
A Billionaire's Bold Statement
"Russia's invasion of Ukraine is barbaric, and I am categorically against it," Volozh, 59, declared openly. Though he had moved to Israel in 2014, Volozh expressed a profound sense of responsibility towards Russia's actions. "Although there were reasons to remain silent during this tumultuous period, questions regarding the timing of my statement might arise, but there should be no ambiguity about its core message: I am against the war." According to insiders, this wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. "Arkady wanted to voice these sentiments on the very first day of the war.
EU's Sanctions Dilemma
The European Union now faces a complex decision. Since the onset of the invasion, Brussels has wielded sanctions as a tool, hoping to induce a change in attitude among those supporting the conflict.
Volozh's open condemnation throws a spanner in the works. It’s more than just about one individual; the EU's response will be closely monitored by several other sanctioned Russian businessmen, awaiting Brussels' next move.
"Honestly, it's difficult to envision any other course of action Volozh could've taken," the source added, emphasizing the broader implications of the EU's forthcoming decision. To understand the gravity of the sanctions, one need only look back to 2022 when Volozh stepped down as the CEO of Yander.
This decision came on the heels of the European Union adding him to a sanctions list aimed at Russian companies and affluent individuals. The EU justified its move by stating that Mr. Volozh was "responsible for supporting actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine." As September approaches, all eyes are on Brussels.
Their forthcoming statement will not only impact Volozh but could potentially set a precedent for other high-profile individuals and businesses facing similar sanctions.
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