Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: I am convinced of Russia greatness

In mid-May, the Russian press almost in unison reported that the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska filed a lawsuit in Washington against the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury (OFAC) and its head, Steven Mnuchin. The businessman demands that the sanctions imposed on him be lifted.

Justifying his claims, Mr. Deripaska points out that “the sanctions against him are unfair and illegal, they cut him off from the global financial system, made his assets toxic, and also led to “the utter devastation of his wealth, reputation and economic livelihood.”


Recall that the story began in April last year, when Oleg Deripaska himself was included in the OFAC sanctions lists. Following these sanctions, the following enterprises related to Deripaska were also sanctioned: En + Group, GAZ Group, Basic Element, Russian Machines, EuroSibEnergo, Bfinance investment company, AgroHolding Kuban and Rusal. However, in December 2018, the US Treasury allowed the largest companies such as En +, Rusal and EuroSibEnergo to be excluded from the sanctions list subject to the fulfilment of a number of requirements. A month later, those companies were withdrawn from the sanctions.

The price was high; Deripaska had to sell his shares in these companies. As RIA Novosti news agency wrote, “The Company’s management bodies are in fact transferred to the citizens of the United States and Great Britain, the strategic issues of development passed from Russia to Western jurisdictions and actually the Company as such must report its actions to the American regulator.”
But even this sacrifice did not allow the businessman to avoid the personal sanctions. And now he has started a costly and long battle against the US Treasury.
His representative explained Deripaska’s position to the press: “The presumption of innocence is one of the basic principles of the American legal system but it was clearly ignored when sanctions were applied to me. The US government should monitor the rule of law, not individuals. Only the court can decide whether a person is guilty or not, and I believe that the US courts are objective enough to support US law and the constitution.”
Here anyone who follows up on the sanctions war led by the West and, above all, the United States, against Russia, should experience a keen sense of deja vu. This is exactly what Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been repeating for the fourth year in a row, being, thus, the first one to say it from all those sanctioned by the US, who have come to grips with the American bureaucratic machinery. And there are thousands of them around the world. However, Russian Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was the first to condemn the blatant injustice and double standards of American policy.
Recall that Ilyumzhinov got on the OFAC sanctions list on 25 of November, 2015. Unlike many, he did not agree with lawless repression but demanded a fair and open trial.
It is owing to the principled position of Ilyumzhinov that we can now guess what Oleg Deripaska will have to face on the thorny path of restoring justice. The first thing that he would learn is that the US courts do not accept lawsuits against the US authorities from foreigners. Moreover, the law directly prohibits state agencies from entering into correspondence with foreign citizens. However, what are you going to challenge in court having no explanations of the reasons why you were included in the station list?
Nevertheless, Ilyumzhinov’s lawyers (a large and very well-known company in the United States) managed to break the ban. Ilyumzhinov received an answer, albeit indistinct one. We believe, it will help Deripaska’s lawyers to walk the trodden path. It is quite possible that, having received the official answer from OFAC, they will learn that the decision of the US Treasury was based on only unsubstantiated speculation from yellow press.
Perhaps, in the end, the US Treasury simply admits that it has no valid claims against the Russian businessman and will offer to resolve all issues with the State Department, thereby confirming once again that repressions against Russian citizens are motivated solely by political reasons and have nothing to do with breaking the law.
We repeat that this scheme and strategy of protection became known only insofar as Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been trying to get justice from the American Themis for almost three and a half years.
Amazingly, in his struggle for justice, Ilyumzhinov was left alone against the American bureaucratic colossus. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov once expressed his bewilderment to his American counterpart, then State Department head Jim Carrey, but that was all.
Not a single Russian official or businessman raised his voice in defence of an unjustly accused compatriot, not to mention any coordinated actions. Meanwhile, our geopolitical partners are not shy. Their bureaucracy, justice and the press systematically act as a united front, achieving well-defined goals.
In the case of Deripaska, for example, such a goal was to seize control of the largest aluminium company. It doesn’t matter what happens with Oleg Vladimirovich: even if he is eventually excluded from the sanctions list (which is unlikely because Yankees are not used to admit their flaws), he will not cease to be ‘toxic’ to western partners, and he would never gain back the lost business.
Speaking of losses: right now, the legacy of the Soviet and Russian sculptor Ernst Neizvestny is under the threat of total annihilation in the same United States.
The artist passed away in August 2016, leaving a rich heritage: apart from the Sculpture Park near his home on Shelter Island, there are about a hundred works – canvases and albums with drawings – stored in his workshop on Grand Street.
Today, the precious collection could be, at best, dispersed into private collections or thrown as a garbage at worst.
Meanwhile, in 1995, Neizvestny himself expressed a clear desire for this collection to remain in the same form in which he had collected it. In 2012, he sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin (we have a copy of it) in which he wrote: "I want my monumental works to belong to Russia." Alas, the only answer to this letter – if it, of course, reached the addressee without drowning in the bureaucratic depths – was the award of the sculptor with the Order of Honour.
Later, the widow of Ernst Neizvestny Anna Graham sent a letter to the Federation Council of the Russian Federation with a request to acquire and forward his works back to Russia. She received no answer either.
And again, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov became the first and perhaps the only one of the major Russian businessmen and politicians who tries, if not to uphold the will of a great sculptor but to at least to save his collection from destruction.
It became known to us that he managed to find a sponsor in the USA. This will allow for some time to extend the existence of the collection. But even one of the most active person is unable to organize the transfer of many tens of tons of brilliant creations across the ocean and half of Europe.
And again we see a striking indifference of domestic officials headed by Vladimir Medinsky, who recently called for “the meaningful, diligent and constructive” attitude towards our legacy.
Likewise, representatives of the business community, willing to spend money on supporting football and martial arts, are in no hurry to unite in order to preserve the national cultural fund.
If it goes on like this, the future is obvious. We will again and again beat our heads against the wall - the whole country and as individuals – of sudden sanctions and unexpected losses.
Now the world’s attitude towards Russia is largely reflection of the attitude towards President Putin. And it, in turn, reflects his actions aimed at strengthening our country.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov largely follows the policy of the Russian president, demonstrating an example of a truly patriotic, statist approach to solving emerging problems. But one in the field is not a warrior (Russian proverb - Ed.). Until we learn to harmonize the actions of the state and its citizens for the benefit of the whole country, we can hardly claim a serious attitude from our partners.

Purvya Mendyaev