While current sanctions target several billionaires close to Putin—including oil-trader Gennady Timchenko, Rosneft executive Igor Sechin and financier Yuri Kovalchuk—the new round would presumably cast a wider net. According to Russian experts, the new round could restrict travel and capital to a larger number of billionaires and Russian companies that have supported Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
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Some foreign policy experts say energy giant Gazprom and executive Alexey Miller could face sanctions along with other parts of the energy sector. Several officials in the U.S. and Britain are also pushing for sanctions against billionaires who "influence or support" the Putin regime, though that's less likely.
The oligarchs, it seems, are bracing for the worst. Russia's business elite is "in horror" over the looming punishments," Igor Bunin, the head of the Center for Political Technologies in Moscow, told Bloomberg. He said they are afraid to speak out for fear of punishment. "Any sign of rebellion and they'll be brought to their knees."
Yet despite the political bluster and "horror" talk, Russia's richest men are unlikely to feel much pain. That's because Russia's richest men won't be targeted. And many of the rest of the Russian elite have already stashed much of their fortunes overseas, where they are safe from any sanctions.
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Russia's top billionaires—like media mogul Alisher Usmanov (worth more than $18 billion) or Alfa Group co-owner Mikhail Fridman (worth about $17 billion) or Renova Group's Viktor Vekselberg—may have previous or current ties to Putin. But it's not likely that the West can prove they were involved in Ukraine.