FT: Founder of Russian tech giant Yandex Arkady Volozh seeking EU sanction relief

The businessman earlier spoke out against the invasion of Ukraine

Founder of Yandex, Russian Internet and tech giant, Arkady Volozh has appealed to the EU to have the sanctions imposed against him lifted, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

According to the newspaper, Volozh’s lawyers filed the request a few days after he publicly opposed Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“The case has raised the issue of whether policymakers should include ‘off-ramps’ for sanctioned Russian elite figures who speak out against the invasion,” FT wrote.

“There are hundreds of other sanctioned Russian businessmen watching closely to see what Brussels does,” a source close to Volozh said.

FT notes that the only person who has successfully appealed to have the sanctions lifted for standing against the war is Oleg Tinkov, founder of Russia’s Tinkoff bank. The UK waived its sanctions against the businessman on 20 July.

On 10 August, Volozh announced that he “categorically” opposes “Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine”.

“I am horrified by the fact that bombs fly towards Ukrainian homes every day. Despite the fact that I haven’t lived in Russia since 2014, I understand that I also share some responsibility for the country’s actions,” he wrote in the statement.

The statement marked the first time that the tech entrepreneur publicly expressed his position on the invasion of Ukraine.

Volozh then noted that he had not lived in Russia since 2014 when he moved to Israel to oversee Yandex’s international projects. However, he said that “the world changed” in February 2022 when he realised that the Yandex story “was over”.

On 7 June, media outlets discovered that Volozh described himself as a “Kazakhstan-born, Israeli tech entrepreneur” in the biography section of his personal website. Following the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Volozh was blacklisted by the EU.

Volozh announced his departure from Yandex on 30 December 2022. He said that the company’s board of directors and management are crafting a restructuring plan. “I am still interested in advising the four international startups that can develop outside of the Yandex holding,” he added.

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