Where can I meet an oligarch
The US has imposed new sanctions on Russia. They are directed against seven oligarchs and twelve of their companies, whose assets are frozen in the USA. It affects some of the richest Russians closely associated with President Vladimir Putin.
Russia announced a tough reaction to the new US sanctions. The foreign ministry said on Friday that the punitive measures would not go unanswered. The US sought global hegemony. Russia will not allow itself to be diverted from its course by any pressure. Rather, the sanctions would unite Russian society.
Viktor Vekselberg, owner and COO of Renova Holding, is also affected by the US sanctions. He is considered Russia's ninth richest businessman and is believed to have a net worth of $ 14.4 billion.
Renova's numerous holdings also include the Swiss companies Sulzer, Schmolz + Bickenbach and Oerlikon. These companies are not affected by the US sanctions.
It is still unclear whether the punitive measures will still have an impact on Swiss companies. "We're trying to clarify what that will mean for us. We don't know any more at the moment," said Sulzer media spokesman Rainer Weihofen to the AWP news agency.
According to the latest information, Viktor Vekselberg or Renova holds a share of 63.4 percent in the traditional Winterthur company.
In the technology group Oerlikon and the steel producer Schmolz + Bickenbach, Renova is not a majority but "only" major shareholder, with a stake of 43 and 42 percent respectively. Here, too, the effects are still unclear. Oerlikon spokesman Michael Präger only said to AWP: "We are checking it".
The reaction from S + B spokesman Ulrich Steiner was similar: "Whether this will have an impact on the participation in Schmolz + Bickenbach cannot be estimated at the moment." The legal situation will be examined.
Also 17 government representatives
Also among the listed are the aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska and the MP Suleiman Kerimow, whose family controls the largest Russian gold producer Polyus. In addition, 17 high-ranking government representatives were put on the sanctions list.
The measures are likely to put a damper on US President Donald Trump's hopes for better relations with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. The US government had already imposed punitive measures in mid-March.
High government officials said in Washington on Friday that the measures were not triggered by a single event. "They are based on the growing pattern of malicious activity by Russia in the world," it said.
Enrichment in authoritarian politics
After much preparation, Washington is now officially holding the Russian oligarchs responsible for enriching themselves with the Kremlin's authoritarian and anti-Western policies.
"Russian oligarchs and elites who benefit from a corrupt system will no longer be exempt from the consequences of the destabilizing activities of their government," said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The new sanctions will continue to weigh heavily on the already very poor relationship between the US and Russia. Both countries expelled dozens of diplomats just a few days ago. The background is allegations against Moscow that it is behind the poisoning of the former double agent Sergej Skripal in Great Britain. The two powers are also at odds with each other in numerous international crisis areas.
Numerous high-ranking representatives of the energy industry and Putin's son-in-law Kirill Schamalov were subject to sanctions. Also affected are Gazprom boss Alexej Miller and - in addition to Deripaska and Vekselberg - Igor Rotenberg.
The well-known foreign politician Konstantin Kosachev as well as the head of the National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, and the director of the National Guard, Viktor Solotov, were also put on the sanctions list.
Displacement from the armaments market
Among the companies, the only company responsible for international arms deals, Rosoboronexport, is affected. This is an attempt to force Russia out of the global arms market, criticized a spokesman for the Rostec parent company for the Interfax agency.
"Russia has chosen a course of confrontation," said the US government officials. They stated: "Moscow is trying to undermine Western democracies, it supports the Assad regime, which kills small children with chemical weapons, it attacks in cyberspace and tries to influence elections."
"These sanctions are not directed against the Russian people," it said. "We want a better relationship with Russia, that can only be achieved by changing Moscow's behavior." As long as Russia tries to destabilize the world, the US would hold back.
Coordinated with European allies
The sanctions were carefully coordinated with European allies, it said. In mid-March, the US government announced punitive measures against 19 people and five organizations from Russia.
The measures freeze the assets of those affected in the US and US citizens are no longer allowed to do business with them. Russians have extensive real estate holdings in US cities such as New York or Miami, among other things.
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