A new round of US sanctions targeting the Russian elite includes a woman named as Vladimir Putin’s longtime romantic partner in news reports.
The Treasury Department said on Tuesday that the government had frozen the visas of Alina Kabaeva, an Olympic gymnast in her youth and a former member of the State Duma, and imposed other property restrictions. The department said she also heads a Russian national media company that promotes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,
Kremlin critics and jailed Russian rights campaigner Alexei Navalny are calling for sanctions against Kabaeva, saying his news outlet took the lead in painting Western commentary on the invasion as a propaganda campaign.
The UK approved Kabaeva in May and the EU imposed travel and property restrictions on it in June.
Rumors have circulated for years about Kabaeva’s personal relationship with the Russian leader. Russian newspapers have dubbed her “Russia’s First Mistress” and even “Secret First Lady”.
In 2008, the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Correspondent reported that Putin had plans to divorce his longtime wife, Lyudmila, to be with Kabaeva. After two days the paper was closed. But five years later, Putin announced that he and Lyudmila had parted ways.
Named in the Treasury’s latest sanctions package is Andrey Grigoryevich Gurev, an oligarch who owns the Wittenhurst Estate, a 25-bedroom mansion that is the second largest property in London after Buckingham Palace.
His $120 million yacht, the Alfa Nero, was also identified as a blocked asset. In addition, his son Andrey Andreevich Gurev and his son’s Russian investment firm Dzhi AI Invest OOO were also approved.
Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov, one of Russia’s biggest taxpayers, and two of his MMK subsidiaries have also been banned, AFP said.
“As innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal invasion, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded affluent lifestyles,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.
“Along with our allies, the United States will also continue to siphon off revenue and equipment underpinning Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.”
The State Department also imposed additional visa restrictions and other restrictions.
in April, America bans Putin’s adult daughters Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova.