In the latest moves to pressure the oligarchs propping up Vlad the Invader, the United Kingdom announced that it was sanctioningf Roman Abramovich. Abramovich is a Russian billionaire who owns the West London based Chelsea FC. He is also known to have supported Vlad in the past.
Abramovich likely knew what was coming because he tried to unload the club before he got sanctioned by the UK. Abramovich cannot enter the UK, his UK based accounts are frozen, and he cannot transact business in the UK. Additionally, these sanctions have put a serious hamper on Chelsea. The team is unable to trade players with other teams, renew contracts for existing players, cannot sell new tickets, and cannot receive proceeds from the sale of merchandise from third parties. The team was given special permission to continue operating, paying existing staff, playing already scheduled games, and paying for maintenance needs through the end of May. This all could have serious ramifications for the team down the road.
I recently wrote how Russia is being isolated from the sporting world. I think these further steps, while painful for others who have nothing to do with the war itself (players, support staff, etc.) are necessary. I think the UK is on the right track in sanctioning Russian billionaires who prop up a government that kills innocent civilians and brutalizes its own people. The UK has said they are determined to sanction these people and Abramovich will not be the last Russian they sanction.
Vlad the Invader is insane. If the only way to resolve this situation is to make it so untenable for Russian billionaires to continue supporting him, that’s what must be done no matter how painful it is for the rest of us. The alternatives (nuclear exchanges, and so on) are far worse.