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Oligarchs, politicos, and Putin: Meet the Russians Canada has sanctioned


From top politicians to influential oligarchs and media figures, Canada has slapped sanctions on high-profile Russians, including President Vladimir Putin, as he continues his unjustified and deadly attack on Ukraine.

In light of the current invasion, the government has targeted those who federal officials say have enabled Putin and this war, with financial and other penalties.

This builds on the multiple rounds of sanctions and other responsive measures Canada has imposed on Russia since its 2014 occupation and annexation of Crimea.

In an immediate response to the 2022 attacks on Ukraine, Canada has moved in lockstep with other allied countries in continuously adding to its sanctions list, moving from initial large batches of sanctions, to smaller and often more thematically-targeted groups of industries and their key players.

This has led to Canada imposing sanctions on hundreds of individuals and entities from Russia since the outset of the invasion of Ukraine.

Imposed under the Special Economic Measures Act—which has also been used to ban Russian ships, ban providing insurance for any Russian aircraft, halt Russian bank transactions in Canada, and prohibit the export of luxury goods to Russia—the federal government has pledged that more sanctions will come until Russia stops committing “atrocities” and leaves Ukraine.

So who has been hit by these asset freezes and other prohibitions? has dug through the list to figure out who is who.


In addition to sanctioning Putin directly in late February, Canada has targeted dozens of top government and political officials in Russia, as well as former players and their close associates.

This has included sanctioning Putin’s chief of staff Anton Vaino as well as Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and his deputy Yury Trutnev.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, justice minister Konstantin Chuychenko, minister of finance Anton Siluanov, internal affairs minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, health minister Mikhail Murashko, minister of agriculture Dmitry Patrushev, economic development minister Maxim Reshetnikov, and deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Grigorenko have found themselves on the sanction list, too.

Canada has also levied sanctions on the Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, Russia’s former president and current deputy chair of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation Ella Pamfilova, and former deputy prime minister—at the time the most senior woman in the Russian government—Olga Golodets.

Aside from government officials, Canada has also targeted defence and military figures in Russia.

Ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Parliament on March 15, a number of high-ranking Russian naval and army officials were added to the sanctions list, and then in May another 19 individuals were sanctioned, including senior defence officials who the federal government said were complicit in "Putin’s choice to invade a peaceful and sovereign country."

In August, Canada considerably expanded the list of Russian military officers sanctioned, adding 43 people, with the majority of names appearing to be those of Russian army colonels and majors, that the federal government says were targeted because of their alleged actions in Bucha, Ukraine where civilians were murdered.


In addition to putting direct pressure on Putin’s political inner circle, Canada has attempted to pressure Putin through some of his closest allies among Russia’s elite.

This has included imposing sanctions on a number of that country’s powerful oligarchs who used personal connections after the collapse of the Soviet Union to take over previously state-owned industries to profit from Russia's new capitalism.

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska is one of the wealthy Russians to be targeted, despite recently calling for peace. At one point the richest person in Russia, Deripaska is the founder of Basic Element, a Russian industrial group with stakes in aluminum and other sectors, according to Forbes.

Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska in Moscow, Russia, on July 2, 2015. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP)

Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska in Moscow, Russia, on July 2, 2015. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP)

Another sanctioned oligarch is former KGB agent Sergei Chemezov. He is the CEO of state-owned defence conglomerate Rostec and has about $400 million worth of assets, including a real estate company in Ireland and a superyacht, according to Pandora Papers documents.

Nikolai Tokarev, who is the president of Transneft, a state-owned pipeline transport company responsible for transporting 90 per cent of Russia's oil, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, has also been sanctioned. He also served alongside Putin in the KGB during the 1980s.

Another sanctioned oligarch with ties to Putin is Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which has also been described as a “Russian troll farm,” according to Reuters. The FBI have accused Prigozhin of allegedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The Rotenberg brothers – Boris and Arkady – have also been sanctioned. They own Russia's SMP bank and oversaw construction of a bridge between Russia and Crimea in 2018. Other members of their family have also been added to Canada’s sanctions list, including Boris’ wife Karina and Arkady’s hockey-player son Pavel.

In early March, Canada moved to sanction another 10 energy sector executives: Seven from Moscow-based oil giant Rosneft, and a trio from Gazprom, a largely state-owned natural gas corporation headquartered in Saint Petersburg that the Rotenberg family has ties to.

Then, at the tail end of his trip to Europe, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would also be sanctioning billionaire Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea Football Club and a major shareholder in multinational manufacruring company Evraz.

Trudeau also sanctioned billionare businessman and early Facebook investor Alisher Usmanov, who Forbes says has major holdings in iron ore and steel company Metalloinvest.

It’s been reported that both men have superyachts that are in the crosshairs of sanctions from European countries.

In April, Canada added several new oligarchs to the sanctions list, including Russian billioniare and banking magnates Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman, entrepreneur and investor Oleg Boyko, and energy, real estate and retail billionare Mikhail Gutseriev.

Several additional wealthy and influential businessmen were added to the sanctions list in May, including former Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov, Rossiya Bank CEO Dmitri Lebedev, and oligarch and former KGB officer Alexander Lebedev.


In mid-April, Canada took their sanctions beyond the key actors and targeted those close to them, by moving to sanction Putin’s two adult daughters, Mariya Vorontsova (Putina) and Katerina Tikhonova.

Mariya is a doctor who, according to the U.S. government, "leads state-funded programs that have received billions of dollars from the Kremlin toward genetics research and are personally overseen by Putin.” Katerina has been described as a “tech executive whose work supports the GoR [Russian government] and defence industry.”

Katerina Tikhonova, left, and Maria Vorontsova, right, are the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Source: CNN)

Katerina Tikhonova, left, and Maria Vorontsova, right, are the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Source: CNN)

Putin rarely speaks about his daughters, their identities have never been confirmed by the Kremlin, and neither woman has confirmed publicly that the Russian leader is her father.

In the months since, a few other family members of prominent Russians have also been sanctioned, including Marina Sechina, who was once married to Putin-ally Igor Sechin.


The government has also gone after what they have described as “agents of disinformation.”

This has included adding Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov to the sanction list, as well as editor-in-chief of state-television network RT Margarita Simonyan.

In this Jan. 19, 2018, file photo, Margarita Simonyan, the head of the Russian television channel RT, listens to a question during her interview with the Associated Press in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

In this Jan. 19, 2018, file photo, Margarita Simonyan, the head of the Russian television channel RT, listens to a question during her interview with the Associated Press in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Canada has sanctioned Vladimir Kiriyenko, the CEO of VK Group, a major internet provider in Russia known for the VKontakte social network, essentially Russia's version of Facebook, according to Reuters.  CEO of Channel One Russia Konstantin Ernst and TV host Vladimir Solovyov have also been sanctioned.

In June, Canada expanded this list considerably, moving to sanction a number of Russian journalists and media figures.

Among those targeted in this round were: director and producer Aleksey Pimanov; TV presenter Artyom Sheynin; CEO of the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company Oleg Dobrodeev; film director Tigran Keosayan; RT executive Alexey Nikolov; and TV presenter Olga Skabeyeva who is reportedly called Putin's "iron doll."

Russian government minister for digital development, communications and mass media Maksut Shadayev, and director of the information and press department of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharvova, were also added to the sanctions list alongside these media figures.

At the same time, Canada moved to sanction 15 specific news channels and media entities that the federal government says were spreading disinformation that was "enabling and supporting" Russia's attacks on Ukraine. Among the outlets sanctioned were: Gazprom Media; National Media Group, Channel One Russia; NTV Broadcasting Company; The All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company; Vesti.Ru; RT; and Sputnik.

With files from CTV National News Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor, CTV’s Brooklyn Neustaeter and Nicole Bogart



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