Oleg Tsarev: How Russia Will Implement Its Ukraine Sanctions Is More Important Than Who Is Blacklisted

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada and former candidate for the Ukrainian presidency Oleg Tsarev commented to “KP” about the sanctions list signed by the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Why in this list aren’t there many Ukrainian oligarchs from the Forbes list?

“There is Viktor Pinchuk and Yury Kosyuk’s enterprises. It’s not so much the list of names and companies that’s important as how many principles there are according to which the sanctions will be applied. In the list there is the staff of the Presidential Administration and state officials.”

There are 12 cabinet ministers on the list!

“Yes, and also members of the Constitutional Court. But have you often met judges, deputies, or ministers whose property was written down in their name?”

Presumably, the head of the Ministry of Defence Poltorak or the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Avakov do not have such objects in their property, especially on the territory of Russia for sure!

“I know that on the territory of Crimea there are 1,500 (!) objects that belong to persons who may not be on this list — but behind these objects loom deputies of the Verkhovna Rada who pursue an unfriendly policy in relation to Russia. Well, and also other representatives of the high Ukrainian authorities. In Crimea every figure of the Ukrainian elite had a sanatorium, a holiday house, a villa. And now two-thirds from these ‘faces of the elite’ excel in attacks against Russia. There is, for example, the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Andrey Senchenko — he called for a blackout and did everything so that it happened, so that Crimea was energetically cut off.”

Will the sanctions affect him directly?

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“It’s not a fact. After all, they are written down in other people’s names. He has a hotel and a fish restaurant in Balaklava. Yes, he was born in Crimea, but now he is in Kiev.

When Natalya Poklonskaya was the prosecutor of Crimea and I worked in Donbass, she called me and asked: how can we help you? I said: help children. And we brought to Crimea two buses of small children who had suffered gunshot wounds. In every sanatorium or preventorium I spoke to the directors — all were glad to help. And in response to the question about the owners of these sanatoria, the director named the names: judges of the Constitutional Court, the Prosecutor-General’s Office, and the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. These objects transfer money to Ukraine to this very day.”

I.e., it’s not about the list of persons, but about how exactly the sanctions will be used against them?

“Yes! Like how the Americans use them against Russia. Banks are afraid of carrying out transfers using Russian companies that fell under sanctions — because they themselves will automatically fall under sanctions! I.e., if in the list there is the deputy Senchenko — then sanctions must touch all those who are connected to his business! Or if it is Pinchuk’s bank ‘Kredit Dnepr’ — does it mean that the entire business of Pinchuk is under sanctions? This is the question.”

It is precisely how the sanctions are applied that is important?

“Of course, first of all!”

In the sanctions list there are crazy persons, such as the nationalists Farion and Yarosh, there are acting high-ranking politicians (first of all – law enforcement, like Poltorak and Avakov), there are businessmen…

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“In the list I can see nationalists who have no assets in Russia and can’t possibly have any. Or I see [Andrey – ed] Denisenko from Dnepropetrovsk — it is for sure that he doesn’t have any assets in Russia.”

Why impose sanctions on the former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk — after all, he lives outside Ukraine’s borders and is happy there!

“Many have already partially forgotten — but Yatsenyuk was the head of Crimea. And he still has many assets here. And a criminal case was also initiated against him in the Russian Federation. After all, he participated in the Chechen campaign on the side of militants!”

And Mustafa Dzhemilev — the “fighter” for the rights of the Crimean Tatar people?

“Money was transferred for the Mejlis, but the top officials of the Mejlis put these funds in their own name. And why not confiscate these means and objects and give them to the religious communities of Crimea? But what will happen — arrest or confiscation? Arrest isn’t that bad either.”

In the list there are candidates for the Ukrainian presidency, for example, Yulia Tymoshenko …

“If Yulia wasn’t under sanctions, then this would rather harm her than help her. Inclusion (or non-inclusion) in the sanctions list is a method of manipulation 5 months prior to the presidential elections. There is also another candidate there — Oleg Lyashko, this concerns him too (he is, by the way, a rather well off person).”

And there is Vladimir Vyatrovich, who is actively creating a new historical reality where Ukraine is one of key European powers with centuries-old glorious history.

“There are people like Vyatrovich who couldn’t not be included in the list. I knew that the list was being formed half a year ago. This wasn’t a big secret. But when I hear about the sanctions list, I have a chill down my spine. Because there are no such sanctions under which I wouldn’t fall. After all, I am a Ukrainian politician.”

In the list there are people who transferred money for the Anti-terrorist Operation (ATO) in Donbass?

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“But even all Russian companies that worked on the territory of Ukraine deduct money for collecting, which in turn goes for the ATO. Including subsidiaries of the largest Russian banks. They have even introduced personal privileges for ATO fighters — who didn’t pay interest on credits while they were involved in the ATO. There were banks that carried out fund raising for the war in Donbass. That’s why to find in Ukraine those who aren’t connected to the ATO is very difficult.”

What does the inclusion of the son of the president, Aleksey Poroshenko, in the sanctions list mean?

“As a rule, sanctions aren’t imposed on top officials. But we see that on November 11th there will be a meeting between Putin and Trump in Paris, and Poroshenko will also come there — the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France invited him to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. It would be inconvenient if Poroshenko fell under sanctions. How then could he meet with Putin there?

In general, the main intrigue is whether the Russian sanctions will be used in accordance with the principle of the American ones? I.e., will they be extended to relatives and nominal owners.”

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