Moscow [Russia], February 1 (ANI): The foundation set up by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has called on US President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on at least eight high profile Russian figures which the foundation says is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
CNN reported that Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) said it had submitted a list of 35 people in total in a letter addressed to Biden dated Friday with eight named on a ‘priority shortlist’.
The letter said that seven of the 35 individuals are already on US sanctions lists. The move comes ahead of nationwide protests planned this weekend in support of Navalny, who is being held in detention ahead of a court hearing next week.
In a letter obtained by CNN, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is named on the “priority shortlist,” for what FBK describes as being a key enabler and an alleged beneficiary of “Kremlin kleptocracy.” A spokesperson for Abramovich told CNN in a statement that “there is no basis for such claims which are entirely without foundation.”
The letter also mentions the name of Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko is also named for allegedly “covering up” Navalny’s poisoning and “hindering efforts” to evacuate the Russian opposition leader to Germany for medical treatment.
FBK executive director Vladimir Ashurkov, who signed the letter, told CNN on Saturday that the foundation was calling on the US to put pressure on Putin to release Navalny.
“The letter is addressed to the President of the United States — the most powerful country. [The US] has a history of imposing sanctions on people who are involved in corruption. If anyone can do anything, it is the USA,” Ashurkov told CNN.
The letter stated that the Kremlin critic has called for sanctions against individuals who he says are key to “aiding and abetting” Putin in the “persecution” of those who “seek to express their opinions freely”.
“For years, Alexey Navalny has advocated sanctions against individuals who play key roles in aiding and abetting Putin and who take the lead in the persecution of those who seek to express their opinions freely and expose corruption in the system. Existing sanctions don’t reach enough of the right people,” the letter read.
“The West must sanction the decision-makers who have made it a national policy to rig elections, steal from the budget, and poison. It must also sanction the people who hold their money,” the letter read and continues: “anything less will fail to make the regime change its behavior.”
Ashurkov said he and Navalny had worked on the list of 35 Russians before Navalny returned to Russia from Germany earlier this month, initially focusing on the main eight.
CNN further reported that the list of 35 people is divided into three groups: “Oligarchs upon whom Putin has bestowed wealth and power, and who wield it on behalf of the regime; Human rights abusers and those who suppress fundamental civil and political freedoms; Individuals specifically involved in the persecution of Navalny and our organization.”
“We didn’t want to make this list public until we did the full dossier on them. But after his [Navalny’s] arrest we knew we had to act,” Ashurkov told CNN.
Navalny was detained on January 17, moments after arriving in Moscow following months of treatment in Germany after being poisoned in August 2020 with nerve agent Novichok. (ANI)
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