Usmanov added to EU list of sanctioned Russian oligarchs

Monday, 28 February, 2022 125comments  |  Jump to last

Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek-born billionaire who co-owns two of Everton's biggest sponsors, has been included on the latest list of Russian oligarchs that are being sanctioned by the European Union in response to the invasion of Ukraine initiated by President Vladimir Putin.

Usmanov's assets in the EU will be frozen and he is also now barred from travelling through any member state as the Union joins an unprecedented series of economic and trade sanctions levied by the international community against Russia following its unprovoked attack on its neighbour.

An EU statement said that the 26 individuals with close ties to Putin and the Kremlin would be subject to measures "in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”.

Usmanov, a Russian citizen who at one time was Britain's richest resident with an estimated £20bn fortune, was named specifically as a "pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to ... Putin. [He] has been referred to as one of Vladimir Putin's favourite oligarchs … [who] actively supported materially or financially Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine" and "actively supported the Russian government's policies of destabilisation of Ukraine”.

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Usmanov is the majority shareholder and beneficiary of USM Holdings, the firm of which Everton's owner, Farhad Moshiri, is Chairman which also sponsors the club's Finch Farm training complex and has paid for first option to the naming rights to the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

In addition, Usmanov is the largest stakeholder in Megafon which sponsors Everton Women as well as matchdays at Goodison Park.

It is unclear what this action by the EU means for Everton and the continued sponsorship of the club by Usmanov's entities, especially as Britain is no longer part of the EU — although Labour MP Margaret Hodge suggested earlier this week that the likes of he and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich should be added to the list of individuals sanctioned by the UK.

According to The Athletic, Moshiri, who has always insisted that his investment in Everton is entirely independent of Usmanov, declined to comment on the situation.

Usmanov, himself, has since offered a response in writing in which he said:

On 28 February 2022 I became the target of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union.

I believe that such decision is unfair, and the reasons employed to justify the sanctions are a set of false and defamatory allegations damaging my honor (sic), dignity and business reputation.

I will use all legal means to protect my honor and reputation.

I hereby suspend the exercise of my duties as the President of the International Fencing Federation effective immediately until justice is restored.

 

Reader Comments (125)

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Martin Greggor
1 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:40:37
We should cut off all links with Usmanov now in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Moshiri needs to issue a statement condemning Putin's invasion. It won't happen because Moshiri and Usmanov are joined at the hip in their business interests. What do they say about supping with the devil? This could all get very sticky for us yet. See this article,

Arsenal and Everton stakeholders' close ties laid bare in leaked files

It was updated in December 2021 so is reasonably up to date.

Dale Self
2 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:49:12
Does anyone have an informed answer to Alan Thompson's question on the other thread as to whether USM's investment at Everton up to this point is essentially abandoned and what if any obligations the club must address?

And for extra bonus points: Usmanov has been discussed as a sponsor not as a shadow investor. It was initially USM LLC which was placed under sanctions. Has USM Holdings been identified as an additional financial vehicle under the direction of a Specially Designated National?

He was sitting at 84% owner as late as 2019 so, if he is being targeted as an SDN, why would a holding company that he has such a dominant share in escape sanctions?

Don Alexander
3 Posted 01/03/2022 at 00:29:03
Does anyone on Earth have the slightest regard for the Premier League "blazers" having either the integrity or global dodgy-finance know-how to properly investigate the likes of Russian oligarchs and their billionaire, employed accountants who've screwed whole populations to engender, and then hide, their wealth?

Still, never mind eh? At least one of our (preposterously alleged) number has seen his personal bank account swelled by many tens of £millions by association with these shysters, so what else matters?

Maybe Kenwright, like one of his acolytes, will soon pick up the tab for drinks all-round at the Winslow to further cement himself into the hearts and minds of way too many as a True Blue.

Sigh.

Dale Self
4 Posted 01/03/2022 at 00:31:01
It looks like frozen assets can be managed by a third party should the sanctions stay in place for long.

"The High Court may appoint a third party — the ‘receiver' — to manage the frozen assets with a view to preventing their depreciation."

Got that angle from a review of the Bemba case under an ICC ruling pursuant to a UK act on managing frozen assets to prevent their depreciation.

Michael Williams
5 Posted 01/03/2022 at 00:59:13
At least they are not targeting the accountants who move that blood money of the oligarchs... right?
Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 01/03/2022 at 01:25:18
With Russia kicked out of qualifying and Russian clubs cancelled from Europe, it seems like world football is finally -- belatedly -- casting out that "criminocracy" just four years after enriching it with the World Cup. But that's the easy part.

The financial and political complexities of sanctioning Russian football financiers are far greater, particularly where it comes to Everton -- a club in a non-EU nation owned by a "friend of a friend" of Putin who has undoubtedly handled tainted funds at some point but has never been accused of wrongdoing himself.

Actually labeling which funds pouring into the club and stadium might be even remotely Putin-connected will probably be impossible even for the experts, and Premier League accountants aren't experts.

Kieran Kinsella
7 Posted 01/03/2022 at 02:45:21
Mike,

You say that but this year the same football authorities have a World Cup in a country where hundreds of slave laborers died building stadiums. FIFA and UEFA have not changed, they just didn't want the bad PR by expelling several countries who refused to play one.

Gavin Johnson
8 Posted 01/03/2022 at 03:24:44
Without the conjecture of politics and ethics, I really hope this doesn't hamper the building of the stadium. If it does, that would be such an unprecedented disaster, but also so Everton.

It would even surpass the NTL TV money fiasco in 2000 when Bill promised a £20m cheque was about to clear, just before the company went under and we ended up with nothing – just before we were about to go on a huge transfer spree.

Alan J Thompson
9 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:00:37
Between the Devil and the deep blue.

If I was Usmanov and considering publicly withdrawing any support and friendship from Putin, I'd be very wary of bumping into anyone carrying an umbrella on London bridges, popping into a cathedral for a quick confession or being asked at the airport if I wanted sugar in my coffee.

I'd also ask who has allowed these people to take so much money out of Russia and organized various schemes that make it so difficult to know where that money is now.

Next we'll be asking the Swiss to investigate the irregularities of banking and financial institutions. As they say, if you sup with the Devil, use a very long spoon.

Andy Walker
10 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:23:38
Very simple: get rid of all Russian owned companies and individuals who sponsor or who have any influence over our club. Shamefully I bet it'll never happen, ‘3 points from the next game' more important? No it isn't.
Alan J Thompson
11 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:27:15
Andy (#10);

You mean after all those years Bill put in to find the right ownership to take over?

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:32:03
It's interesting you mention the Swiss, Alan J. A hotbed for those wishing to "invest". Aka register company HQ and have 3 people present in the Cantons even though most of their activities are blatantly conducted elsewhere. A place to stash money away from the Taxman. The home of UEFA & FIFA; say no more.

I don't confess to know the workings of finance, but nice little old neutral Switzerland who never harms anyone, does at face value, to the uneducated like me, seem to encourage and flirt with corruption.

Not sure what will happen with Usmanov as his role at Everton has always appeared unclear to me aside from sponsorship. Abramovich, who is or was much more directly involved with Chelsea, seems to have been able to make a move to protect the club whilst still technically having a stake, albeit from afar. Maybe Usmanov is already in that space with us so little impact? And the UK hasn't yet sanctioned him.

The honesty is I really don't know. Interesting times.

Andy Walker
13 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:46:57
Alan 11,

Putin's just changed the world. Our club must play its part and adapt to a future without the support of dirty Russian money.

Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:48:20
Kieran #7, no, FIFA and UEFA are the amoral whores they have always been, which is my point. It's easy to just blow with the political wind, calculate the returns and spike Putin now after sucking up to him for years.

Same calculation so many autocracy-supporting Trumpies are making in the US. The more "respectable" ones at least are pulling back from their blind endorsement of Bleach Boy's hero worship of Putin.

Finances are far more nebulous.

Andy says it's easy to "get rid of all the dirty Russian money" but it's anything but. You can't simply point to two bills, or two bank accounts, or two companies and say one is clean and one is dirty. There are no identifying tags, no easy methods for tracking ownership or sources, and no established standards for which is which. It takes expertise, time and the will to do it. And I have no idea where any of those will come from.

Andy Walker
17 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:08:53
Mike, there is very easy first step we can take, terminate all USM Holdings sponsorship deals. Easy. Man United did it day 1 of the invasion by terminating Aeroflot sponsorship.

Of course we can look to build a narrative that it’s far more complex than people think (don’t you know) and come up with reasons to do nothing, but step 1 is easy, but our owner, who’s not usually shy in sacking people, doesn’t have the balls to do it.

Alan J Thompson
18 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:20:02
Andy (#13),

Why stop at dirty Russian money? Why not sanction those who have taken out loans through the likes of the British Virgin Isles (ring any bells?) or allow "investors" to deposit gold teeth from concentration camp internees, rip off employees' superannuation funds, or even donations to political parties? The list is timeless and endless.

As a matter of interest, and I stand to be corrected, but as I understand it under, I think, Gorbachev citizens were issued with vouchers giving them shares in "privatized" companies which present-day oligarchs bought up at reduced prices as common people needed the money, capitalism at work.

I do agree that sanctions need to be taken out against Russia and those profiting from that country and I wouldn't stop there. I'd include those countries that won't condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine and continue to trade with them, the list might surprise you, but we all know that most politicians put finance and the economy above all. Change in Russia, as always, has to come from within. Putin is now trying to write his name into history with Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Churchill, Mao, Kennedy et al.

And all I want this season is Everton to avoid relegation while going on to dominate world football from next year on.

Robert Tressell
19 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:24:10
Not much of a surprise. He was named in Parliament few days ago and, let's be honest, we all knew anyway.

Very hard to know what impact it will have on the club, the stadium and the Dock redevelopment.

Weird situation.

Schalke are trying to ditch Gazprom with financial support offered by other clubs.

Abramovich is credited this morning with attempting to broker peace.

Would like to see Usmanov and Moshiri make their moves.

Time to sort out the dirty money and problem ownership generally – us, Chelsea, Newcastle etc etc.

Andy Walker
20 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:26:33
Alan, there is a mutual relationship between the oligarchs and Putin, each lets the other get on with their own shit, they turn a blind eye in other words as it is in their mutual interests to do so. Isolate the oligarchs and you stand a chance of them turning on Putin. Our club can and must play its part.
Alan J Thompson
21 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:29:56
Andy (#20);

And who do you think is looking after the money that they have taken out of Russia? It's not called Londongrad for nothing.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:31:32
Your last paragraph, Alan @18. That's what matters to me from an Everton and football perspective. As well as going to Wembley. 1984 all over again. We come from the depths of winter despair to lift a trophy.

Okay, I'm getting carried away again.

There is dirty money everywhere. There are corrupt regimes everywhere. We (collectively) turn a blind eye most of the time then get outraged when it becomes mainstream media, even though it's been going on for years.

The west has rightfully rallied against Russia and Putin. But if they'd really have wanted to prevent this, then the action should have been taken years ago. Pre-emptive and proactive always trumps reactive "after the horse has bolted" action in my eyes.

So, if we're taking the moral high ground, what about the Saudis? Oh wait, huge defence contract with them??!!

Andy Walker
23 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:37:45
Of course I understand that, Alan, number one priority is getting rid of Putin though. Do that and the house of cards may start to collapse, but right now taking direct steps against Putin's oligarchs is not only morally the right thing to do, but practically it can play its part in overthrowing Putin, who's potentially a mentally unstable leader with his finger on the button.
Alan J Thompson
24 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:53:22
So it's not the money then, Andy?

Putin's army is doing more to have him removed and, if they repeat another Finland, he won't last long but, as you say, somebody has to take his finger off the button, change from within rather than from the comfort of a London mansion.

Colin Glassar
25 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:54:20
I would've accepted Usmanov's dirty money to compete with the other dirty money owned clubs but the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed all that.

Hopefully, the government will kick all these oligarchs out of the country but I doubt that as London/Mayfair would collapse and some of our favourite TV chefs would lose their private gigs cooking for them. Not to mention pop stars, models etc….

Mark Ryan
26 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:03:00
If he is financing the stadium and this means an end to construction at Bramley-Moore Dock, then I'll take that if it means the war ends for the people of Ukraine.

BMD means everything right now but I don't want to be associated with a man who is the sidekick of Putin, a despicable little rat of a man.

If he comes out and condemns, then fine... but he's not going to, is he. Sooner Ukraine are in NATO, EU the better.

Andy Walker
27 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:03:32
“So it's not the money then, Andy?“

I don't follow your point, Alan.

Alan J Thompson
28 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:12:26
It's the Madman not the Bankers.

Anyway, I've made my point and we seem to disagree to agree and I'll let it rest there until we resume our rightful position with the treble next year, that is, in the words of Cap'n Mainwaring, the League, the Cup and whatever the Cup Winners Cup is these days (just for Danny O) while magnanimously allowing somebody else the League Cup.

In Frank we trust.

Steve Shave
29 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:12:28
Everton that...
Andy Walker
30 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:32:02
Fair enough Alan, to be honest I really didn't fully follow your argument.

As far as I could make out, you seemed to be against Everton terminating it's relationship with our Russian owned sponsors, your justification for your position being that there are lots of other dubious financial transactions that have taken place throughout the world for many years – so what's the difference?

If I've got that right (and I apologise if I have misinterpreted you and please correct me), the difference is that Putin's invasion of Ukraine is on a different level to anything the West has seen since WW2. His actions are fundamentally threatening the existence of all of us.

Anything we, or UK businesses, including football clubs, can do to try and make the likely psychopath understand the consequences of his actions, surely has to be a good thing?

Alan J Thompson
31 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:41:13
Not quite, Andy, more along the lines of clean up our (the West) own mess, as well as the oligarchs, which has allowed them to prosper, and I'd say since the Cuban crisis rather than WW2.

Best of luck.

Robert Tressell
32 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:44:51
Andy # 30, I agree. Football has been used for reputation laundering - because we're all so emotionally invested in success / that next big transfer etc we tolerate the dirty money / regimes.

It's as Colin says, this present situation is a game changer. Football has been manipulated and it's time to stop.

This doesn't end with the Russian (or Uzbek) owners.

I'm sure the people of Yemen would appreciate some help right now against the owners of Newcastle.

I'm sure the, near enough, slaves who built the Qatari stadia would have appreciated a bit more concern for their welfare from the football World.

Andy Walker
33 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:48:36
Best of luck to you too, Alan.
Brent Stephens
34 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:51:48
As I understand it, Usmanov is not directly involved in any decision about Russia invading Ukraine. He is not directly culpable re the Ukraine situation.

However, given the severity of the Ukraine situation, the weight of world opinion is against the Russian invasion, and there is an array of sporting and non-sporting sanctions being brought to bear against Russia.

In that context, I agree with the EU (among others) using whatever levers they can to influence Putin, directly or indirectly. The likes of Usmanov are seen as potential levers on Putin.

I would think that, once all this is "over", wherever that is going, then Usmanov's and others' assets might well be unfrozen.

It's about leverage not culpability?

Andy Walker
35 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:54:49
Robert and Colin, I agree with both of you. I hope our club takes a stand, but I am not sure Moshiri is up to it/has the courage. Likewise other clubs should look at their own ownership structures, but they’ll do nothing.
Jerome Shields
36 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:57:32
Mike #3,

I agree. The practicality of imposing sanctions will probably mean that any indirect already provided monies will not be investigated or the means by which they are provided.The latter will probably be ongoing.

The property register is a nothing and is an acknowledgement that properties already held offshore would be fruitless to investigate, as the Inland Revenue has already acknowledged in professional accountant circles. They will continue to be traded offshore.

The other factor is the intent of the government to do anything beyond rhetoric. The UK is now an offshore paradise for finances, outside the EU, with all the murknesses that entails. As for the football authorities, they will follow what suits. The original UK inadequate list and promises of review will take some time.

As for the stadium, the contractors seem happy enough, and have not downed tools.

I don't support any of this, but such is life. It is unlikely that fan protest will have any effect, since they will find they are in a shifting sands situation, even culminating in another Third Party control, which will be provided for in legislation. Bamboozed by Third Parties if you like.

Andrew Ellams
37 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:57:52
What I didn't realise until today is that Farhad Moshiri is the Chairman of USM Holdings. How does that affect the club if/when the UK does impose sanctions on Usmanov and his associated businesses?

Also, if Moshiri has invested heavily in Russian businesses, how much has his portfolio and personal wealth dropped in the past week?

Stan Schofield
38 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:01:50
Everton needs to do whatever is necessary at this time to visibly distance itself from Usmanov. That would be sensible from a PR perspective.

From a moral perspective, I believe Danny O’Neill at post 22 makes an important, perhaps the most important point on this thread, that proactive always trumps reactive. A moral stance has more credibility and substance when it’s based on a proactive approach, compared with the current mainstream approach of being reactive.

Being proactive is morally superior to turning a blind eye most of the time, when it’s convenient to do so, and then expressing moral outrage (or feigning moral outrage) when the shit hits the fan.

Andy Walker
39 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:05:44
Absolutely, Andrew, sanctions have the potential to cause huge financial damage to our club; however, in the bigger context that really isn't important when we could be at the beginning of WW3.

Every person and business that can do something to hurt Russia economically, should be doing so in the hope that it can create enough pressure on Putin's inner circle (that includes his oligarchs) to oust him. If not then Putin will be moving West once he's captured Ukraine.

Jerome Shields
40 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:10:29
Stan#38

They already have, but not as you intend.

Brian Harrison
41 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:43:06
I wonder why Russia going into Ukraine has triggered the belated sanctioning of some Russian Oligarchs and other? Why is going into Ukraine more important than when Russia invaded Crimea or Chechnya?

Abramovich has owned Chelsea for 18 years and only now do they want to sanction him – everybody knew his links to Putin when he took over at Chelsea.

For years, many MPs have been asking for sanctions against the dirty Russian money swilling round the stock market, but nothing was ever done about it.

I will be very interested to see if Evgeny Lebedev finds his way onto the list; don't hold your breath – the Conservatives sent him to the House of Lords. His father was a banker in Russia as well as being an officer in the KGB, along with his friend Putin.

Lebedev also owns the Evening Standard newspaper who are pro-Conservative. Mind the cry will be not all Russians are bad people and that is definitely true, in fact, most are completely innocent and those who protest are killed or jailed. So I think its fair to assume that those who amassed wealth did so with the agreement of Putin, so guilty by association.

I don't know what impact Usmanov being sanctioned will have on EFC but I can't see how it can end well for Everton. During the debate in the commons yesterday about sanctioning Oligarchs and others the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said they are targeting Oligarchs and also their associates. I guess on that basis Moshiri may also end up on the list.

I await to see what statement EFC put out as, now their main sponsor has been sanctioned, they have to say something.

John Zapa
42 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:46:48
There is no doubt that Usmanov facing a freeze on assets combined with the drop in value of his Russian based assets will have a major impact on his ability to continue funneling money into the Club. He will soon need to hold on to as much cash as possible, and spending that precious cash on the club via sponsorship so that there are a few more new Iwobis on the field will not be his priority.

Make no mistake, the club is entering the darkest moment of the last 50+ years both on and off the filed,which could result in relegation, bankruptcy, administration, point deductions, heavy fines, transfer embargos and various more problems.

I predict the stadium construction to be stopped or significantly slowed down, even before Usmanov and his Russian companies became toxic, the club had financing options for the stadium. No reputable lender would loan a poorly managed, multi year loss making business money.

Michael Lynch
43 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:52:47
The club will be fine. We're owned by a British-ranian, not an Uzbek-Russian. Cover up the Megafon signs for a few weeks, and wait for Putin's reign to end, which it surely will within months.

Once the oligarchs see their billions being threatened, it's really no longer in their interests to retain connections with Putin. He'll be gone, and it won't be NATO that removes him.

Brian Murray
45 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:01:23
John @42, I'm not saying you slow down for car crashes but voice of doom or what. I'm not privy or an expert on the BMD investors or finances. Just hope your wrong, Think I prefer your brother Frank.
Christopher Timmins
46 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:04:01
Everton will survive with or without Moshiri and Usmanov, indeed we might be in a better place if Bill did not bring them around the place.
Stan Schofield
47 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:08:13
Michael @43: Probably true. When the shit hits the fan, politicians and their business associates (both overt and covert) quickly desert the ship, close ranks for protection, or lie low until things go quieter and other news items become mainstream to grab the public's attention.

Not much coverage of Boris Johnson's office parties at the moment.

John @42: Put that crystal ball away and cheer up.

Brent Stephens
48 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:15:24
Brian #41, yes, where were the voices against Russia and the likes of Usmanov in relation to Crimea or Chechnya? A bit late to the party.

"During the debate in the commons yesterday about sanctioning Oligarchs and others, the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said they are targeting Oligarchs and also their associates. I guess on that basis Moshiri may also end up on the list."

But the more steps one is removed from the problem (Putin), the more difficult it might be to take steps against them or use them.

Mike Keating
49 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:21:14
Stan @ 38 and Danny @ 22 (and everyone else, I guess).

At the thin end of a very long spoon lodged firmly up the devil's arse are we – the fans.

No one has suggested any action they should take in the likely event that the UK adds Usmanov to their list of sanctioned oligarchs and Moshiri still does nothing.

A boycott would have little effect apart from on the fans themselves and look like a meaningless gesture in the grand scheme of things but supporting a club with Usmanov's finger prints all over it, is a shameful prospect.

As Alan @ 9 points out, there are very real dangers for anyone who crosses Putin but there are British based oligarchs who have condemned the war – several named on yesterday's edition of Newsnight. Usmanov should do the same.

Niall McIlhone
50 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:21:53
I wish I could share your optimism, Michael (#43), but I fear Putin is going nowhere for some time yet.

In an alternative scenario, Everton FC could, by now, be relocated in either Kirkby or the King's Dock for considerably less than the estimated £550 million(?) it's likely to cost for the stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Also, with inflation spiralling, and with the cost of construction materials increasing exponentially, how might this impact upon both the speed of the project, and the cost, I ponder?

I must admit, I find the whole picture as regards Russian oligarchs rather murky. As others have commented, they are now cemented in to the elite of British society, with interests in all aspects of political and cultural life in the UK.

My guess is that they have not only bought favours to protect this status, but also have stashed billions offshore to ensure that they can bail out at very short notice if their registered assets are frozen.

Stan Schofield
51 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:26:00
Niall @50:

Yes. Oligarchs are like most politicians, if they fell in a canal they'd come out holding a salmon.

Niall McIlhone
52 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:53:57
Indeed, Stan: I'd also venture to say that the political scene in the UK, as well as some major institutions, are – to a greater or lesser degree – corrupt.

The internet age has, for example, laid bare the dastardly deeds of those in Government, especially during the last two years of Covid where the pockets of friends and relatives have been lined with public money by Government ministers.

As one of our fellow Blues from the US has pointed out, the UK is now a de facto offshore money laundering nation, post Brexit, and it is no wonder that the Oligarchs feel their money is safe here (well, offshore).

Michael Lynch
53 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:56:44
Niall, I think spiralling inflation (and relegation, if it comes to that) are more likely to impact on the BMD project than our ties with Usmanov.

It's easy to get carried away when we're getting 24 hour rolling news reports about something, whether its Brexit or Covid or Ukraine, but the effects of any crisis are usually mitigated by time, especially for the average person. Covid panic feels like ancient history now – I tested positive for the first time today, and so far it's the mildest of mild colds – and Brexit doesn't even get talked about any more.

Sure, both Covid and Brexit will have some impact for years to come, but the news cycle moves on. We may well still be taking the knee for BLM for another decade, but its barely discussed any more. Same thing will happen with this crisis.

Anthony Jones
54 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:34:04
This is obviously an emotive subject, but if you delve deep enough plenty of billionaires could be considered to be of dubious means.

Saudi oil magnates own Newcastle. Abramovich built his wealth on the fire sale of state owned assets following the collapse of the USSR. The Glazer family reverse financed their buyout of Man United. The list goes on.

Danny O’Neill
55 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:34:22
I think that's a very good point Michael, about 24/7 new coverage. It seems geared to generate outrage and a minute by minute desire to have everything sorted by tomorrow, be that Brexit, Covid and now the Ukraine – even though the Ukraine has been going on since the 2014 invasion of the Crimea and subsequent war in the eastern provinces including the shooting down of a civilian airliner.

And given that wouldn't have happened overnight, the tensions would have been evident previous to that if we'd have looked hard enough or been bothered back then.

But now we show solidarity and outrage even though the Ukranian nation has faced this threat for years. But the west bottled it. Wouldn't incorporate them into either the EU or NATO through fear of upsetting the Russian Bear.

We are very selective in both our actions and timing of them. In this sense, way too late.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile. Nothing to see there, just big contracts and money. Sound familiar? I guess in a decade or so they may be then next Russia, but right now, they are our counter and proxy to Iran, so they serve a political and financial purpose.

Jerome Shields
56 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:51:09
Danny #55

Couldn't agree more. In Europe they are getting real hipped up. But as you say they where slow to act previously. So will the UK government. Once things move until the next news cycle and what has been promised with outrage expressed, will be forgotten.

John Zapa
57 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:59:50
I fully expect a fire sale of the club's top players in the summer to cover the huge losses which we highlighted in the soon to be released 20-21 financial report.

Considering that Usmanov will probably be blocked from all activities in the country and Europe soon, selling players will be the only way to cover the running costs of the club going forward.

Paul Hewitt
58 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:06:25
Michael @43. I agree Putin will be gone soon. Probably with a bit of lead between his ears.
Joe Corgan
59 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:09:26
Paul @58:

Perhaps this isn't the most appropriate place to be saying this but, yes, you're right. Putin will be gone soon. The question is who he decides to take with him that worries me.

Andrew Ellams
60 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:25:03
Michael @ 43, that British/Iranian is the Chairman of soon to sanctioned USM Holdings. What nationality he is does not matter as he is about to be hit quite severely in the pocket but, as Andy says @ 39, it's not really that important is it.
Christopher Timmins
61 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:42:08
Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea and now Ukraine. Of course we should not forget the impact made in Syria as well.

The line in the sand should have been drawn years ago!

Paul Hewitt
62 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:48:18
Joe @59. It's okay, I don't think Putin reads TW.
Barry Hesketh
63 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:11:40
Five years ago, David Conn of the Guardian questioned Usmanov's relationship with Everton Football Club, it's possibly more relevant today than it was then, but the question still hasn't been satisfactorily answered.

Everton Ownership

Andrew Ellams
64 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:14:09
Barry, it has concerned me for a long time. How did his Chief Accountant get into the position Moshiri is now in?

Stan Schofield
65 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:18:56
Only in the last day or so have the oil giants BP and Shell announced terminating their stakes in Russian state energy. Arguably that should have happened in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea, but it didn’t happen because of business interests.

The US and Biden have reiterated that they are maintaining such oil and gas business links with Russia. So no sanctions there, so far.

It’s this ongoing linkage on business interests, particularly oil and gas and other minerals, which underlines the possible hypocrisy of countries like the UK and USA in reacting to the current invasion of Ukraine with such apparent outrage. I use the term ‘apparent’ purposefully.

The approach to sanctions and the basis of ‘apparent outrage’ appear to be rather complex, compared with the broad mainstream media coverage, which appears to present the situation akin to ‘goodies’ (the UK etc.) versus ‘baddies’ (Russia), as in childlike action films of cowboys and Indians variety.

Barry Hesketh
66 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:20:43
Jonathan Liew in today's Guardian, writes:

From Mike Ashley at Newcastle to the Oyston family at Blackpool, to the Glazers at Manchester United to Mel Morris at Derby, the collateral damage caused by bad owners can be a form of trauma for the fans caught up in it. Abramovich, for his part, has been a reasonably popular absentee landlord, hoisting Chelsea from the depths of fourth place in the Premier League in 2003 to third place now, having spent more than £2bn and signed Nemanja Matic twice along the way. Yet even amid the serial rattle of silverware he is yet to answer any of the questions that have been swirling around him for almost two decades. Why football? Why Chelsea? How did you make your money and what exactly do you intend to do with it? And what is it you want here exactly?

Of course, we know why these questions remain unanswered. For decades English football, taking its lead from the British state, simply bent the knee to foreign capital, trusted in the innate virtue of wealth to the point where even to query the source of that wealth became an act of sabotage or treachery. Owners became gods, omnipotent and unshiftable, bending the rules and making the rules, fending off any attempt at scrutiny with armies of lawyers and lobbyists, spin and silence. Only now is football beginning to wake up to the stench of its own money, and yet the furious backpedalling of the Johnson government and the performative outrage of the footballing authorities suggests that the real red line was not morality but PR.

Only now is football waking up

Tom Bowers
67 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:40:05
It's all about money and money gives power and control.

That's why morons like Trump and Putin have become what they are -- puppets on a string to the big moguls and potential dangers to World peace just to preserve their own egotistical, supercilious facades.

These guys have no empathy like many of us do.

Michael Williams
68 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:40:26
Moshiri Out – and take Usmanov with you!

Yes, there are other football clubs and hundred of institutions that are swimming in all forms of dirty money but EFC is our house and we are responsible for keeping it clean.

Stan Schofield
69 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:43:22
Barry @66:

That's a powerful piece in the Guardian. But really, it should have been written years ago, and heavily reiterated when the cabal of Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool attempted their ‘Super League' coup last year.

Terry Downes
70 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:30:18
Micheal @68 – give it a rest will yer? Do you want us to fall even further behind the Top 6 or 7 just so we can say "Well, at least we're clean"?

Ever heard the saying "When in Rome..."?

Tom @67 – give me the moron Trump anytime before these woke warriors and the over-the-top namby-pamby do-gooders who are strangling this country to death.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:33:37
Just watching Sky News and that Russian convoy, that is edging ever closer to Kyiv, is terrifying. I don't see how The Ukrainian army are going to have much answer, once their city is surrounded? (Who knows?)

People like Danny, who knows a lot more about this type of thing, might be able to enlighten me, but if the Russians start unleashing these weapons, then what will the rest of the world do next?

George Carroll
72 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:36:00
Seeing that Kenwright has made so much dirty money, wouldn't it be a nice gesture on his behalf if he would donate at least half to a Ukrainian Fund for Refugees???
Stan Schofield
73 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:42:01
Tony, I don't know a lot about it, but the world might do very little. Ukraine is not part of NATO, otherwise the NATO Charter would have required it to defend Ukraine. The fact that Ukraine is not part of NATO is a possible enabler for Russia's current actions.

Previous invasions, like Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, etc., have not led to any major escalations, and Ukraine could well prove similar. The USA is not including certain large energy business arrangements, particularly oil and gas, in current ‘sanctions', so in some significant ways it might be business as usual.

Bill Watson
74 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:45:24
I think the USM sponsorship of Finch Farm was a 5-year deal which was signed in 2017, so due to end this year. I'm not sure how the option for first dibs on BMD naming rights is structured but I imagine that money has already been paid.

Unfortunately, football is full of dirty money. I had to remind a 'holier than thou' RS that his club's main sponsor was fined over £20M for sanction busting in Russia, after the Crimea invasion, and also fined $1.1bn in the US for sanction busting in Iran.

The immediate concern for Everton must be financing the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. Apart from Moshiri's £50M for the ongoing initial work, we have heard nothing on the financing going forward.

Len Hawkins
75 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:45:56
The Russian money may well have been laundered in the Cellars of Conservative Central Office, as in the case of "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" Oligarchs have paid the Conservative Party well for their right to be holding, spending and hiding their money here.
Danny O’Neill
76 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:55:18
What surprised me about that footage, Tony, is that Russian tactics don't appear to have evolved much from the '80s.

Columns of tanks and armoured vehicles grouped closely together moving slowly. A western (US or UK) force would literally stop that in it's tracks with a couple of precision strikes. You don't even have to take out the entire convoy. Just hit that at the front, in the middle and take the road out, which they are reliant on to make it ineffective and disrupt its movement forward.

It looked about as mobile as Fabian Delph.

I'm sad the West didn't act sooner to support Ukraine. This has been coming for years.

Mike Gaynes
77 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:07:12
I share none of the predictive optimism here that Putin will be gone anytime soon. He is an absolute dictator with no checks on him.

The "oligarchs" aren't actual oligarchs, because they have no political powers. They're company directors like Usmanov, financial lap dogs who owe all they have to their personal Putin loyalty. Some of them served with Putin in the KGB and see the world the same way. Anybody expecting them to rise against Putin is going to be keenly disappointed.

Only a political uprising by the Russian people, led by an charismatic opposition leader, is going to knock Putin over. But the only qualified opposition leader is Navalny, who is in prison. And while there are widespread protests now in Russia over the invasion, there were also mass protests 14 months ago over Navalny's imprisonment, and Putin wasn't rattled in the slightest.

Everything is impermanent, as the Buddhists say, but Putin will be around for a while, no matter how the invasion turns out.

Tony Abrahams
78 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:07:47
It's war, Danny, maybe the Ukrainian people have got some surprises ready within their arsenal, because if the Russians get to surround Kyiv so easily, they will think their job is done.

I hope it doesn't get to this though, although I'm not holding my breath, because those bombs are very dangerous, especially when you have only Molotov cocktails to return.

Andrew Ellams
79 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:30:07
Terry @ 70 I think it's time for your nurse to tuck you in.

The West are so tied up now that they have got into the unthinkable position were supporting those poor people in Kiyv, Kharkiv and everywhere else could put the lives of billions at risk.

For Putin, I think China will pull him in soon enough and suggest a nice long holiday in a special funny farm somewhere.

Mike Gaynes
80 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:47:22
Barry # 66, thanks for posting that link. Jonathan Liew is a great writer. But I think he misses the point a bit with his predominant focus on Abramovich.

First, Abramovich made his illicit billions primarily under Yeltsin, not Putin. Second, the world's richest people simply do not sit for interviews if they don't want to.

And third, Abramovich's primary incentive in the world at large has been obvious for decades. He is the planet's largest donor to Jewish charitable causes and the fight against antisemitism. He took out Portuguese citizenship so that he could work directly with the Portuguese Jewish community.

The Abramovich situation is an example of how complex these questions can become. On the one hand, he is Russian, and made his billions through corruption. On the other hand, he is only tentatively linked to Putin at this point -- although they were close 20 years ago -- and is indisputably doing great good in the world. So what action should be taken against him in this scenario?


Tom Harvey
81 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:01:10
By freezing their bank accounts/assets they're (governments) implying that their (oligarchs) money is/was gained illegally or is being used illegally, this being the case, why haven't they all been arrested?

If you or I (the common man) had money in his account gained illegally we would very quickly taken away for interrogation.

Apparently most of these oligarchs are sitll living in absolute comfort and luxury in Europe's capitals, Putin's children living the high life in Amsterdam, no-one has had a mansion confiscated?

These oligarchs fund a despicable regime that has occupied a democratic and free country and is murdering civilians with hideous weapons.

I'm absolutely bowled over by the strong show of morality our government (and others) have shown when dealing with these oligarchs.

Long live Londongrad!

Bill Gall
82 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:07:27
Anyone who wishes to know about Usmanov from his birth to present day should just read the article in Wikipedia. It is interesting to read on his philanthropist activities.
Larry O'Hara
83 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:10:54
Mike (80),

For my sins, I subscribe to the New Statesman where Liew's tedious columns appear in each issue. Great writer he is (not), I find his relentless pro-LFC propaganda nauseating. He is a typical RS whinge-merchant and without having read his latest effluent, his sectarian motives for attacking Chelsea's owner are obvious.

I'd suggest the telephone directory is as interesting as any Liew column, but more informative….

Mike Gaynes
84 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:14:57
Danny #55/76, great posts. One point, however -- the West in general, and the US and UK in particular, always supported the idea of Ukraine's entry into NATO. But Ukraine politics went back and forth, and the country didn't make the necessary constitutional changes for NATO and EU membership until 2019.

No question the West has "bottled" the Putin issue for years, but not on Ukraine.

Tom #81, because putting oligarchs in jail requires proof that they broke the law. And there were no laws to break. Russian law following the collapse of the Soviet Union was a jumbled mess. No anti-corruption or anti-bribery statutes were passed there until 2008, and they're pillow-soft. Basically the only Russians who go to jail for corruption are people who piss off Putin.

Bill Watson
85 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:36:47
Mike #84

NATO's relentless push eastwards is one of the drivers of the current situation and the US was warned of exactly the current scenario by their Moscow ambassador in 2008.

Ukraine joining NATO would be seen by Russia, quite rightly, as a provacation and a threat to their own security.

I'm old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis and the US's reaction. Over 60 years later that tiny country is still sanctioned and blockaded. Imagine the West's reaction if Mexico signed a pact with Russia or if the former West Germany had wanted to join the Warsaw Pact.

Ukraine should become a totally neutral country; joining NATO or the EU could result in civil war as they have a large ethnic Russian population.

Mike Gaynes
86 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:51:35
Bill #85, that is the Putin propaganda spin, line for line. You are reading perfectly from the Glavset script. The Trolls From Olgino applaud you.
Stan Schofield
87 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:04:21
Mike @84:

Many would argue that the US is currently ‘bottling' on Ukraine by virtue of not including certain major energy business arrangements with Russia in current sanctions.

BP and Shell have announced that they are terminating such arrangements (and Brent crude is currently on $110/barrel and rising), but the US has failed to follow suit.

In this respect, business as usual between the US and Russia?

Dale Rose
88 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:08:08
"In war, truth is the first casualty."

Aeschylus.

Kieran Kinsella
89 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:09:51
Red Echo obviously concerned about events. Front page news is "Mum with world's biggest eyebrows doesn't care what people think."
Kieran Kinsella
90 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:15:21
Tony @81,

These oligarchs aren't exclusive to Russia either. All the former communist countries saw hard men and politicians (usually ex-communist officials) buying up industries for pennies on the dollar, except for East Germany, where West German businessmen did the same, leading to the assassination of the guy who oversaw the whole financial integration by left-wing extremists.

Ukraine has at least 10 billionaire oligarchs, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova etc are the same way. Technically it wasn't illegal – it was just immoral.

Dale Self
91 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:37:51
Alright, this is getting deep. I've not done my research on Eastern European politics in the 90s but let's get one thing understood. Yeltsin had an alcohol problem that could affect his hold on power was well understood as a US intel fact. The waves of NATO membership came at the end of his time (Poland, Hungary, Czech Rep in 1999 and the Balkans in 2002).

If these were offered as intel knew Putin was coming up then those memberships weren't so much an expression of impatient US imperialism, that was a signal that the game was up on opening up Russia and its satellites.

Willing to take a hit here but let's do get that context processed in our opinions on NATO expansion.

Mike Gaynes
92 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:38:59
Stan #87, I have no idea why the US hasn't extended sanctions into the energy sector. I believe we should.
Clive Rogers
93 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:43:29
Kieran, 89, that’s devastating news. Not bigger than Dennis Healey’s are they?
Stan Schofield
94 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:49:07
Mike @92: The US, and the UK, also didn't sanction that sector after the Russians invaded Crimea in 2014.
Stan Schofield
95 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:51:05
Kieran @89: This is clearly a highbrow discussion.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
96 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:51:06
Bill, Mike, (#85, #86)

That is exactly what I said last night to my better half. Ukraine should seek to be like Switzerland and neutral and Russia and the US should sign a treaty to say so – even to the extent that both will guarantee Ukraine protection should they be attacked.

I went even farther and suggested that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus hold the same status. That way, there is a corridor of countries which are neither NATO nor Russian backed between each – demilitarised except for their own forces.

Furthermore, if the free trade EEC had not become the EU, a political union with their hoped for own Army, then all 5 could have joined the EEC without any problem. Now if Ukraine joins the politically motivated EU, it will be seen as a negative by Moscow. They should be allowed to only join EFTA.

Sadly, that compromise is not enough for both sides who always want more than 50% of the pie.

Brian Wilkinson
97 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:52:18
Alan J Thompson, you hit on an interesting sentence as follows.

As a matter of interest, and I stand to be corrected, but as I understand it under, I think, Gorbachev, citizens were issued with vouchers giving them shares in "privatized" companies which present-day oligarchs bought up at reduced prices as common people needed the money, capitalism at work.

The above sounds very familiar, A J.

I wonder where else I have seen this occur, oh yes – our very own Margaret Thatcher's Government, buy shares at a reduced price for British Gas; buy your own council home for a discounted price; countless others along the way.

Joe Public probably managed at most to buy £100 in shares, while the fat cats bought them in the thousands, 2 months later, the common man sells his handful of shares. At a guess, I would say a good two-thirds of council houses are now owned by private landlords, bought up cheap, rented out high.

British Rail, electric, water, all privatised; Joe Public does not benifit, just the rich owners.

It is happing right here, right now in the UK, has been for many a year... So if you happen to see Sid, tell him to do one.

Mike Gaynes
98 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:54:14
Stan, the US did sanction Gazprom and Rosneft in 2014.

Phil #96, Switzerland's tradition of neutrality goes back 200 years. Not so with any of those countries you mention.

And I'm not aware that any of them has expressed a desire to be Swiss-style neutral. Don't you think they should determine that for themselves, rather than have neutrality imposed on them by the world powers?

Bill Watson
99 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:54:50
Mike # 86

Looks like US Ambassador Burns was reading from the same script!

Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary. Following a muted first reaction to
Ukraine's intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP)
at the Bucharest summit (ref A), Foreign Minister Lavrov and
other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition,
stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion
as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement,
particularly to Ukraine, remains "an emotional and neuralgic"
issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also
underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and
Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue
could potentially split the country in two, leading to
violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force
Russia to decide whether to intervene. Additionally, the GOR
and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership
would have a major impact on Russia's defense industry,
Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations
generally. In Georgia, the GOR fears continued instability
and "provocative acts" in the separatist regions. End
summary.

MFA: NATO Enlargement "Potential Military Threat to Russia"

If Russia gets bogged down and casualties and inflation mount, the military may well remove Putin to prevent unrest.

I'm not an apologist for Russia and think the best short term solution would be for someone to take Putin to one side and put a bullet through his head.

Mike, you need to take your US tinted specs off and look at the overall picture.

David Israel
100 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:00:12
Alan, #18, that was Yeltsin. Privatisations only began after the fall of communism... and Gorbachev.
Kieran Kinsella
101 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:09:13
Mike & Phil,

Austria serves as a precedent for what Phil is talking about. It wasn't split like Germany because the "allies" withdrew from allied zones of occupation once it declared neutrality.

The problem for Ukraine would be trusting Russia. They surrendered their nukes because Russia pledged to support their independent status. Now Russia have obviously reneged on that so who is going to trust they will respect a neutral demilitarized Ukraine?

I think the bigger issue here is the reality on the ground as opposed to the missteps over the decades. You can go backwards in any conflict playing a blame game of past rights and wrongs and come up with some arbitrary point in time that you want to revert to as the end of legitimacy.

But the reality is that we are where we are and need to figure out solutions from the here and now – not undo what happened 20 years ago.

Danny O’Neill
102 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:14:36
I'll probably contradict myself here in having said the West could have acted sooner. It obviously is more complex than that.

Unlike the former Soviet Baltic states, for example, a significant portion of Ukraine is ethnic Russian and, if my history serves me correct, the Ukraine is viewed as the birthplace of modern Russia.

Russia was never going to accept western expansion into Ukraine as it reluctantly did into other parts of Eastern Europe.

Kieran Kinsella
103 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:19:03
Danny,

For context, it's similar to Serbia's view on Kosovo as the historic heartland of Serbia and hence there reluctance to give it up. Only worse, because whereas Kosovo established a large population of non-ethnic Serbs, or even Slavs, eg, Turks, Albanians, Ukraine hasn't and both Russia and Ukraine claim to be the current version of the old Kiev-Rus empire.

So yeah, they won't want to give up on it easily. It would be kind of like if we'd overthrown Thatcher, divided Britain up and suddenly Wessex wanted to join the Warsaw Pact.

Dale Rose
104 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:21:39
If you want the low-down on early Russian corruption, The Shock Doctrine by Klein covers the Yeltsin era very nicely.
Mike Gaynes
105 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:26:57
Bill #86,

I'd suggest you get your facts straight and your head out of the Russian-sponsored troll sites.

William Burns is not an ambassador. He is the director of the CIA. He was ambassador to Russia 15 years ago when that memo was written (it has been reposted by the trolls as new).

The Cuba-Ukraine comparison is likewise a Glavset parrot point. If you're old enough to remember the Cuban crisis, why can't you remember that the US didn't respond to the Cuban missiles with a mass invasion claiming the Cubans were Nazis committing ethnic massacres, as Putin has with Ukraine? The US didn't carpet bomb Cuban cities and civilians.

The US ended the Cuban crisis with a brief blockade of Russian military shipping. Which ended when the missiles were removed in 1962. Cuba has never again been blockaded, no matter what your Olgino talking points say.

Bill Watson
106 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:32:17
Kieran #101

I was going to cite Austria as a post-war example but you beat me to it.

Post WW2, Austria, like Germany, was occupied by the four allied powers. The Soviets pushed for it be neutralised and this neutrality to be protected by the 4 powers.

This happened in 1955 and the Austrian people had no say in it, at all. Neutrality was imposed whether they liked it or not.

It seems to have worked okay, since then, albeit Austria joined the EU in the mid-1990s.

Mike Gaynes
107 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:33:45
Kieran #101, neutrality was imposed on Austria as a defeated Axis nation in WW2, which was followed by a 10-year military occupation that was only going to end if the country declared neutrality. So, at the insistence of the USSR, they did.

Pretty sure that wouldn't work today in Ukraine. But yes, you're right, looking backward gets nobody nowhere. This is a whole new situation in a much-changed world.

Dale Self
108 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:37:33
So the West went into Eastern Europe too fast, which is why Putin is mad... and the West has bottled it now by not going into Ukraine already?

I've got a headache.

Peter Neilson
109 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:37:41
Bill, I think they are all valid points and the concerns over NATO expansion were also expressed by Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Gorbachev was convinced by Secretary of State James Baker's “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting in 1990.

While there's a major element of Putin using these concerns as a pretext for his unconscionable behaviour, the concerns still have to be addressed if there is to be any long term peaceful solution.

“Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate” covers the 30 years to date in great detail. It was published earlier this year, unfortunately very timely.

David Israel
110 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:48:13
The irony being, Peter #109, that, had Ukraine joined NATO, Putin wouldn't have marched in now. That's what's keeping the Baltic countries safe and the Finns nervous.
Stan Schofield
111 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:49:23
Mike @98:

Yes, but that did not significantly affect oil exports from Russia to the US.

Kieran Kinsella
112 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:52:45
David,

Depending on how fast Ukraine had joined. Montenegro set out to join in 2016 before a Russian/Serb backed coup attempt was foiled. Then they rushed through membership in 2017. Russia doesn't share a border with Montenegro or Serbia so it was a bit trickier to stop Montenegro.

If Ukraine had been significantly down the path to joining NATO but not over the line yet, it could have expedited a Russian invasion, unless they pulled the whole thing off with membership secretly and within a few hours.

But even then, would the Russian minority in Donbass have lived happily ever after?

Peter Neilson
114 Posted 01/03/2022 at 19:18:18
David,

On top of that Malcolm Rifkind has written how the MOD wanted to ask Russia to join NATO in 1995 as an associate member. The thought being to stabilise a country in flux.

Never developed as there was a fear it would be a promise that could never be delivered. Yeltsin also proposed this a few years previously.

Bill Watson
115 Posted 01/03/2022 at 19:26:43
Mike #105,

I said Burns was the Ambassador to Russia when he sent that message in 2008. He was; being in post from 2005-08.

To this day, the US maintains an economic blockade on Cuba. If US companies export non-food items to Cuba, they face sanctions and foreign countries are threatened with the withdrawal of foreign aid.

The US haven't invaded Cuba? Sorry, the Bay of Pigs fiasco must be misinformation planted in my head by trolls.

I think the Russian invasion is an outrage just as I thought the US invasions of Iraq, Libya etc and further back Vietnam were.

Before you accuse me of being somehow anti-American, I'd better say that I'm actually Anglo American and have studied US and European political history. Maybe why I can understand the politics and motives of both sides!

Better stick to football, Mike, as your history knowledge is confused or, at best, selective. You just seem to parrot what you see and hear from the right-wing US media and accuse anyone who doesn't agree with your one-sided view as being under the influence of Russian trolls. Laughable!

Bill Watson
116 Posted 01/03/2022 at 19:39:21
Dale #113

That made me laugh; easily done, mate!

Brian Wilkinson
117 Posted 01/03/2022 at 20:22:23
Bill @115, good post that.
David Israel
118 Posted 01/03/2022 at 21:05:10
Danny #102 and Kieran #112, both Estonia and Latvia have sizeable ethnic-Russian populations, upwards of 20% in each of those countries.
Bill Watson
119 Posted 01/03/2022 at 22:56:01
Brian #117

I rarely get into slanging matches with fellow Blues but sometimes blinkered views need to be challenged. It seems a modern trend that if you put an opposing view you're accused of being misled by trolls and fake news. Very Trumpish. lol

I think what we all agree on is that this attack on Ukraine is totally unwarranted and I would go further and say Putin should be regarded as a war criminal.

I'm just watching footage, on Newsnight, of Russian soldiers surrendering which is quite encouraging. It appears to be genuine.

Meanwhile I noticed, through my fingers, that Burnley lost 0-2.

Bill Fairfield
120 Posted 02/03/2022 at 13:38:24
Very uncertain days ahead for our club with its connections to USM
Kieran Kinsella
121 Posted 02/03/2022 at 13:57:15
Maybe the morally righteous players who've been made millionaires by USM will take a pay cut like they said they would after Covid.
Danny O’Neill
122 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:00:28
I get your point David @118. I would argue that's more a result of "plantation" activity during the Soviet era.

Ukraine is much more linguistically (slavic), historically, culturally and religiously closer to Russia than the Baltics. They have Latin alphabets and I think at least one is more closely aligned culturally to Finland.

James Marshall
123 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:22:41
If enough of us turn up, I reckon we can get the stadium finished. I'm a dab-hand with a trowel and pretty decent at digging holes. I can also put up shelves and fix cars.

Also maybe it's time for a bit of a whip-round for the finances, since Usmanov's billions are intrinsically linked, and effectively the same as Moshiri's millions.

It's funny how since Russia invaded Ukraine everyone is calling it 'dirty Russian money', whereas a few weeks ago it was just 'Russian money'. The money was filthy then as it is now, it just so happens Russia is run by a maniacal dictator who has decided to overthrow some European countries, thus making it somehow even dirtier.

The filth was on Usmanov & Moshiri's hands well before the Russians went off the deep end.

Andy Walker
124 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:26:25
Unquestionably Everton FC as a leading Premier League club is now fucked, unless we can sell to another billionaire. Moshiri and Usmanov will have already lost billions (good).
Barry Hesketh
125 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:38:42
Andy @125,

When was the last time that Everton FC was a leading Premier League club?

I think the new stadium might be mothballed for a few years but, so long as Moshiri is the owner, we will continue to get his albeit limited financial support, he just won't be able to go to his mate for a sub every now and again.

I would think there is a good chance that Everton FC will be sold, but there is no guarantee that the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will be part of the sale and it may never happen, who knows?

Perhaps the Government could build it for us and we could rent it off them, after all, they made the rules that allowed oligarchs to bring in their money in the first place, so compensation for those mistakes is surely due to us? Seriously, I think the club were in a sell-to-buy mode, with or without Usmanov's involvement.

I don't expect to see any record fees paid by Everton in the next decade but I do see a long list of sales and wage reductions – at least we'll get our true identity back?

Mike Gaynes
126 Posted 02/03/2022 at 17:14:37
Bill Watson, you're just thrashing around in accusing other people of "blinkered views". If you can truly compare the Russian invasion of Ukraine with the clown show that was the Bay of Pigs, and you truly believe that economic sanctions are equal to a blockade, then your self-proclaimed education was utterly wasted and your own blinkers are the size of wheat sacks.

And, just for the record, it's the US political right that's pushing the messaging from the Russian trolls, the Trump, Pompeo, Tucker Carlson, Paul Gosar crowd. When Trump cowered in front of Putin at Helsinki and blamed the US and the West for poor relations with Russia, apparently you agreed.

I don't think you're anti-American, and I don't care about your ethnic background. I just think you're rather ridiculously wrong.

Tom Harvey
127 Posted 02/03/2022 at 23:40:20
This has just been confiscated by Germany, perhaps our club might be next?
Kieran Kinsella
129 Posted 02/03/2022 at 23:48:56
Tom

Could be worse. Maybe the Germans can get us running efficiently.

Bill Watson
130 Posted 03/03/2022 at 14:03:50
Your posts are getting ridiculous now Mike. From initial denial you now admit the US invaded Cuba but imply it was okay because it was, in your own words, a fiasco. What if it had been successful?

You go on to make huge assumptions on what I believe and agree with and, of course, any view which doesn't fit your own agenda is dismissed as being planted by Russian financed trolls.

The reality is I hope Putin's political administration and the Russian military leaders will see their comfortable lifestyles under threat and will remove him.

I'll leave you in the comfort of your selective view of US political history as I have a few things to do before tonight's game.


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