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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1 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:40:37
It was updated in December 2021 so is reasonably up to date.
2 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:49:12
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?
3 Posted 01/03/2022 at 00:29:03
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.
4 Posted 01/03/2022 at 00:31:01
"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.
5 Posted 01/03/2022 at 00:59:13
6 Posted 01/03/2022 at 01:25:18
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.
7 Posted 01/03/2022 at 02:45:21
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.
8 Posted 01/03/2022 at 03:24:44
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.
9 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:00:37
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.
10 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:23:38
11 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:27:15
You mean after all those years Bill put in to find the right ownership to take over?
12 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:32:03
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.
13 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:46:57
Putin's just changed the world. Our club must play its part and adapt to a future without the support of dirty Russian money.
14 Posted 01/03/2022 at 06:48:20
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.
17 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:08:53
Of course we can look to build a narrative that its far more complex than people think (dont you know) and come up with reasons to do nothing, but step 1 is easy, but our owner, whos not usually shy in sacking people, doesnt have the balls to do it.
18 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:20:02
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.
19 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:24:10
Very hard to know what impact it will have on the club, the stadium and the Dock redevelopment.
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.
20 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:26:33
21 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:29:56
And who do you think is looking after the money that they have taken out of Russia? It's not called Londongrad for nothing.
22 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:31:32
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??!!
23 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:37:45
24 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:53:22
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.
25 Posted 01/03/2022 at 07:54:20
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….
26 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:03:00
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.
27 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:03:32
I don't follow your point, Alan.
28 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:12:26
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.
29 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:12:28
30 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:32:02
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?
31 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:41:13
Best of luck.
32 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:44:51
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.
33 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:48:36
34 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:51:48
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?
35 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:54:49
36 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:57:32
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.
37 Posted 01/03/2022 at 08:57:52
Also, if Moshiri has invested heavily in Russian businesses, how much has his portfolio and personal wealth dropped in the past week?
38 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:01:50
From a moral perspective, I believe Danny ONeill 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 its 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 its convenient to do so, and then expressing moral outrage (or feigning moral outrage) when the shit hits the fan.
39 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:05:44
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.
40 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:10:29
They already have, but not as you intend.
41 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:43:06
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.
42 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:46:48
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.
43 Posted 01/03/2022 at 09:52:47
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.
45 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:01:23
46 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:04:01
47 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:08:13
Not much coverage of Boris Johnson's office parties at the moment.
John @42: Put that crystal ball away and cheer up.
48 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:15:24
"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.
49 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:21:14
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.
50 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:21:53
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.
51 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:26:00
Yes. Oligarchs are like most politicians, if they fell in a canal they'd come out holding a salmon.
52 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:53:57
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).
53 Posted 01/03/2022 at 10:56:44
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.
54 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:34:04
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.
55 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:34:22
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.
56 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:51:09
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.
57 Posted 01/03/2022 at 11:59:50
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.
58 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:06:25
59 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:09:26
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.
60 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:25:03
61 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:42:08
The line in the sand should have been drawn years ago!
62 Posted 01/03/2022 at 12:48:18
63 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:11:40
64 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:14:09
65 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:18:56
The US and Biden have reiterated that they are maintaining such oil and gas business links with Russia. So no sanctions there, so far.
Its 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.
66 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:20:43
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.
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.
67 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:40:05
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.
68 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:40:26
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.
69 Posted 01/03/2022 at 13:43:22
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.
70 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:30:18
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.
71 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:33:37
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?
72 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:36:00
73 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:42:01
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.
74 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:45:24
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.
75 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:45:56
76 Posted 01/03/2022 at 14:55:18
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.
77 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:07:12
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.
78 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:07:47
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.
79 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:30:07
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.
80 Posted 01/03/2022 at 15:47:22
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?
81 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:01:10
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!
82 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:07:27
83 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:10:54
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….
84 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:14:57
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.
85 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:36:47
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.
86 Posted 01/03/2022 at 16:51:35
87 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:04:21
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?
88 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:08:08
89 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:09:51
90 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:15:21
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.
91 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:37:51
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.
92 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:38:59
93 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:43:29
94 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:49:07
95 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:51:05
96 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:51:06
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.
97 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:52:18
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.
98 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:54:14
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?
99 Posted 01/03/2022 at 17:54:50
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
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.
100 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:00:12
101 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:09:13
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.
102 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:14:36
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.
103 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:19:03
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.
104 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:21:39
105 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:26:57
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.
106 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:32:17
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.
107 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:33:45
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.
108 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:37:33
I've got a headache.
109 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:37:41
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.
110 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:48:13
111 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:49:23
Yes, but that did not significantly affect oil exports from Russia to the US.
112 Posted 01/03/2022 at 18:52:45
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?
114 Posted 01/03/2022 at 19:18:18
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.
115 Posted 01/03/2022 at 19:26:43
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!
116 Posted 01/03/2022 at 19:39:21
That made me laugh; easily done, mate!
117 Posted 01/03/2022 at 20:22:23
118 Posted 01/03/2022 at 21:05:10
119 Posted 01/03/2022 at 22:56:01
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.
120 Posted 02/03/2022 at 13:38:24
121 Posted 02/03/2022 at 13:57:15
122 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:00:28
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.
123 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:22:41
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.
124 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:26:25
125 Posted 02/03/2022 at 14:38:42
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?
126 Posted 02/03/2022 at 17:14:37
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.
127 Posted 02/03/2022 at 23:40:20
129 Posted 02/03/2022 at 23:48:56
Could be worse. Maybe the Germans can get us running efficiently.
130 Posted 03/03/2022 at 14:03:50
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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