Saturday, June 1, 2024

Russian Courts Freezing and Confiscating Enormous Sums Not Only from Those Charged with Economic Crimes but Also from Political Opponents and Emigres

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 28 – Since Vladimir Putin launched his expanded war in Ukraine in February 2022, Russian courts have frozen and confiscated some 1.3 trillion rubles (13 billion US dollars) from those charged with various crimes, ostensibly to ensure that the accused will be able to pay any fines imposed but in fact for other purposes as well.

            According to Novaya Gazeta journalist Sonya Rikhter, court records show that the freezing and confiscation of assets amounts to almost four percent of the federal budget and that these actions are hitting not just those charged with economic crimes but those who are Kremlin opponents or in emigration (

She suggests that while there is insufficient data to make a final determination, most of the assets the courts have frozen or confiscated so far has been used as part of a Kremlin program to reform elites in order to solidify its hold on power; but she says that the moves against political opponents and emigres appear to be increasingly important as well.

            And what is still more chilling, Rikhter continues, is that Russian courts have begun to confiscate the property of the relatives of such people if they decide that such assets reflect either the actions of the accused or could be used against the interests of Russia, a sweeping expansion of judicial power that potentially threatens anyone that the Kremlin might want to go after.



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