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14 Sep, 2023 11:37

EU lifts sanctions on Russian businessmen

The move may set a precedent for other individuals fighting economic restrictions
EU lifts sanctions on Russian businessmen

The European Council has revealed the identities of four Russians, one of whom is deceased, who have been removed from its sanctions list. The decision not to renew penalties against the individuals was announced earlier this week, although the EU did not provide their names until Thursday.  

The EU will not extend restrictions, which expire this week, against Russian businessman Grigory Berezkin, billionaire and former Federation Council member Farkhad Akhmedov, and the former head of Russian e-commerce firm Ozon, Aleksandr Shulgin.   

Brussels also delisted Russian Army Colonel Georgy Shuvaev, who died in the autumn of 2022. The EU initially blacklisted Shuvaev – who was posthumously awarded the title ‘Hero of Russia’ in his homeland – in February 2023.  

The EU’s Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling last week by lifting sanctions against Russian entrepreneur Shulgin.  

The EU had initially targeted him as a “leading [Russian] businessman” and the CEO of a company “involved in economic sectors that provide a significant source of income” for the Russian government. However, Shulgin stepped down as Ozon CEO three days after sanctions were imposed, and resigned from the company’s board of directors.   

Citing his departure from Ozon, Shulgin challenged the notion that he was a “leading businessman.” EU justice authorities eventually concluded that the European Council had not provided evidence indicating that Shulgin could be considered influential.  

The case marked the first time that a court had lifted EU sanctions on a Russian businessman.    

Experts said the ruling could set a precedent for the numerous EU sanctions affecting Russian citizens.  

Brussels has sanctioned nearly 1,600 individuals and more than 200 entities as part of its anti-Russia policy, and recently targeted what were vaguely defined as “leading” businesspeople, along with their families and friends.

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