« Kostin realises that he is one of the first people on this list »

Sergei Pugachev speaks of the businessmen’s fear to face sanctions because of their connections to Putin.

According to a recent report from Reuters, a number of the wealthiest men in Russia have begun to consider a personal connection to Putin as a « toxic asset ». The report mentions 20 Russian businessmen, who have anonymously told journalists from Reuters of their fear to be mentioned in the US presidential administration report on the most prominent political and business figures close to Russia’s leadership. The report is to be submitted to the Congress at the end of January. Businessman and former senator Sergei Pugachev, once a member of Putin’s closest circle, tells about the unrest among the business elite.


Pugachev said that the businessmen among his connections are fearing « for their safety and being imprisoned », and they are worried about « the absence of funds and money in general » in Russia. Among those he specifically mentioned the Chairman of VTB Bank, Andrei Kostin, who « realises that he is one of the first people on the list » that might be handed over to the US Congress.

According to Pugachev this act, that might be adopted in the US, is about setting the Russian market against the American one. He added that the act targets individuals, but « the businessmen, in a certain sense, should not be held accountable ; this is the way the system works ».  He further suggested that the whole of Europe will be « compelled » to apply this law, and, if faced with a choice, Europe will choose the US.