Yandex Founder Calls Russia’s War In Ukraine ‘Barbaric’

5/5 - (10 votes)

In a rare move among Russian tycoons, Arkady Volozh, the founder of Russia’s largest tech company, condemned his country’s war in Ukraine. Volozh, who previously held the position of CEO at Yandex, often referred to as Russia’s Google, stated that he is categorically against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it barbaric. He also mentioned that he feels responsible for the country’s actions, although he did not provide any further details.

Volozh resigned from his position at Yandex and left the company’s board last year after being placed under sanctions by the European Union for allegedly financially supporting the invasion. Yandex’s news aggregation service had been accused of blocking anti-war content, which the company defended as compliance with Russia’s strict information laws.

Volozh’s public condemnation of the invasion makes him only the second sanctioned Russian businessman to take such a clear stance against it. Previously, the British government removed Oleg Tinkov, a Russian financier and outspoken critic of President Putin who renounced his Russian citizenship, from the sanctions blacklist following a legal battle.

While several other Russian billionaires, including Mikhail Fridman and Oleg Deripaska, have made critical comments about the war, they have not openly condemned Putin’s policy. Volozh’s statement comes at a time when there is a growing debate among Russian opponents of the war on how to encourage more members of the country’s elite to distance themselves from Putin’s government.

Efforts are being made to lobby Western governments to remove sanctions against those prominent Russians who speak out against the invasion. Yandex sold its news aggregation service soon after Volozh was placed under EU sanctions, and the company’s Dutch parent company has been attempting to separate its core Russian businesses from its subsidiaries focused on artificial intelligence.

It is unclear how Volozh’s statement may affect the progress of these plans. Although he no longer has any formal ties to the company, he still holds 8.5 percent of its shares, which are valued at around $500 million. Volozh’s statement received cautious approval from some in Russia’s exiled political opposition, who see it as a significant step in the right direction.

The team of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has taken a strong stance against Russians who they believe are supporting Putin’s war in Ukraine. They have published a list of 7,000 individuals whom they believe should face financial punishment from foreign governments.

Overall, Volozh’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is significant, considering the delicate position that Russian tycoons find themselves in, caught between the fear of Western sanctions and retribution at home. His statement may contribute to further discussions and efforts to encourage other prominent Russians to speak out against the war.

About Sarah Johnson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *