The West has imposed a barrage of sanctions on top Russian figures. See how they’re connected to Putin.

Vladimir Putin

Business and finance

Alisher

Usmanov

Mikhail

Fridman

Sergei

Roldugin

Petr

Aven

Roman

Abramovich

Alexei

Mordashov

Aras

Agalarov

Gennady

Timchenko

Arkady

Rotenberg

Boris

Rotenberg

Igor

Shuvalov

Media

Anton

Krasovsky

Arkady

Mamontov

Roman

Babayan

Yevgeniy

Prilepin

Modest

Kolerov

Tigran

Keosayan

Energy industry

Nikolay

Tokarev

Igor

Sechin

Ivan

Sechin

Andrei

Patrushev

Oleg

Deripaska

Government

Sergei

Shoigu

Dmitry

Peskov

Mikhail

Mishustin

Sergei

Sobyanin

Military and security

Alexander

Bortnikov

Valery

Gerasimov

Victor

Zolotov

Sergei

Naryshkin

Sergei

Chemezov

Nikolai

Patrushev

Vladimir Putin

Business and finance

Alisher

Usmanov

Mikhail

Fridman

Sergei

Roldugin

Petr

Aven

Gennady

Timchenko

Roman

Abramovich

Alexei

Mordashov

Aras

Agalarov

Igor

Shuvalov

Arkady

Rotenberg

Boris

Rotenberg

Media

Anton

Krasovsky

Roman

Babayan

Arkady

Mamontov

Yevgeniy

Prilepin

Tigran

Keosayan

Modest

Kolerov

Energy industry

Nikolay

Tokarev

Igor

Sechin

Ivan

Sechin

Andrei

Patrushev

Oleg

Deripaska

Government

Mikhail

Mishustin

Sergei

Shoigu

Dmitry

Peskov

Sergei

Sobyanin

Military and security

Sergei

Chemezov

Alexander

Bortnikov

Valery

Gerasimov

Victor

Zolotov

Sergei

Naryshkin

Nikolai

Patrushev

Vladimir Putin

Business

and finance

Energy

industry

Military and

security

Media

Government

Alisher

Usmanov

Mikhail

Fridman

Roman

Babayan

Nikolay

Tokarev

Sergei

Shoigu

Victor

Zolotov

Sergei

Roldugin

Petr

Aven

Anton

Krasovsky

Igor

Sechin

Dmitry

Peskov

Sergei

Naryshkin

Alexander

Bortnikov

Roman

Abramovich

Aras

Agalarov

Arkady

Mamontov

Ivan

Sechin

Mikhail

Mishustin

Alexei

Mordashov

Boris

Rotenberg

Yevgeniy

Prilepin

Andrei

Patrushev

Sergei

Sobyanin

Valery

Gerasimov

Gennady

Timchenko

Arkady

Rotenberg

Modest

Kolerov

Oleg

Deripaska

Nikolai

Patrushev

Sergei

Chemezov

Igor

Shuvalov

Tigran

Keosayan

Business

and finance

Energy

industry

Military and

security

Media

Government

Alisher

Usmanov

Mikhail

Fridman

Roman

Babayan

Nikolay

Tokarev

Sergei

Shoigu

Victor

Zolotov

Dmitry

Peskov

Sergei

Roldugin

Petr

Aven

Anton

Krasovsky

Igor

Sechin

Sergei

Naryshkin

Vladimir Putin

Alexander

Bortnikov

Roman

Abramovich

Arkady

Mamontov

Ivan

Sechin

Mikhail

Mishustin

Aras

Agalarov

Alexei

Mordashov

Yevgeniy

Prilepin

Andrei

Patrushev

Sergei

Sobyanin

Valery

Gerasimov

Boris

Rotenberg

Gennady

Timchenko

Arkady

Rotenberg

Modest

Kolerov

Oleg

Deripaska

Nikolai

Patrushev

Sergei

Chemezov

Igor

Shuvalov

Tigran

Keosayan

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As Russian President Vladimir Putin intensifies his war in Ukraine, the 69-year-old leader has become increasingly isolated, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials, including from some of his closest advisers.

Most people, including business leaders and politicians, who were once part of Putin’s inner circle now appear unwilling or unable to pressure him to reverse course, even as global sanctions send Russia’s economy into a tailspin.

Several prominent Russian businessmen, including industrialist Oleg Deripaska and billionaire banker Mikhail Fridman, have called publicly for peace. But, as the economic noose tightens around Putin and his associates, Western policymakers say they hope that more aides and former confidants will step up and challenge the president.

The Washington Post has identified some key players in the wider network of political and economic elites that surround the Russian leader, including oil executives, steel tycoons, media moguls and spy chiefs. Some have a net worth of at least $1 billion, according to Forbes.

Many of these individuals have been targeted for sanctions by the United States, Britain or the European Union in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Others remain untouched by the restrictions or have denied supporting or benefiting from the decision-makers who launched the war.

Business and finance

Forbes billionaire

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Gennady Timchenko

Major shareholder of Bank Rossiya

Alisher Usmanov

Businessman with close ties to Putin

Arkady Rotenberg

Co-owner of SMP Bank

Brothers

Igor Shuvalov

Chairman of VEB.RF,

the national economic

development institution

Boris Rotenberg

Co-owner of SMP Bank

Roman Abramovich

Businessman and former politician

Sergei Roldugin

Businessman known as “Putin’s wallet” and godfather of his eldest daughter

Alexei Mordashov

Major shareholder of Bank Rossiya

Mikhail Fridman

Co-founder of Alfa Group,

an investment firm

Co-founders

Aras Agalarov

Real estate developer

Petr Aven

Co-founder of Alfa Group,

an investment firm

Forbes billionaire

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Gennady Timchenko

Major shareholder of Bank Rossiya

Alisher Usmanov

Businessman with close ties to Putin

Arkady Rotenberg

Co-owner of SMP Bank

Brothers

Igor Shuvalov

Chairman of VEB.RF,

the national economic development institution

Boris Rotenberg

Co-owner of SMP Bank

Roman Abramovich

Businessman and former politician

Sergei Roldugin

Businessman known

as “Putin’s wallet” and

godfather of his

eldest daughter

Alexei Mordashov

Major shareholder of Bank Rossiya

Mikhail Fridman

Co-founder of Alfa Group,

an investment firm

Co-founders

Aras Agalarov

Real estate developer

Petr Aven

Co-founder of Alfa Group,

an investment firm

Forbes billionaire

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Gennady Timchenko

Major shareholder of Bank Rossiya

Alisher Usmanov

Businessman with close ties to Putin

Arkady Rotenberg

Co-owner of SMP Bank

Igor Shuvalov

Chairman of VEB.RF,

the national economic development institution

Brothers

Boris Rotenberg

Co-owner of SMP Bank

Roman Abramovich

Businessman and former politician

Sergei Roldugin

Businessman known as

“Putin’s wallet” and

godfather of his

eldest daughter

Alexei Mordashov

Major shareholder of Bank Rossiya

Mikhail Fridman

Co-founder of Alfa Group,

an investment firm

Aras Agalarov

Co-founders

Real estate developer

Petr Aven

Co-founder of Alfa Group,

an investment firm

Russia’s modern oligarchs first emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, when a dash for control of the state’s collapsing industries allowed them to cash in. Now, they include some of the biggest and most influential names in Russian business and politics, an exclusive group of powerful men whose investments span the globe — and whose alleged connections have sometimes reached deep inside the Kremlin.

Some experts say that today’s oligarchs are no longer Russia’s most important power brokers. But, together, these men boast vast holdings in industries such as metals, banking, technology, petrochemicals and luxury real estate.

Many of them — including Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s childhood friend and former judo partner; businessman and cellist Sergei Roldugin; and banking magnate Petr Aven — either are or have been longtime confidants or associates of the president, according to media reports, government statements, leaked financial data and, in some cases, interviews with the men themselves.

Some of them, such as Roman Abramovich, the owner of the English Premier League’s Chelsea Football Club (who is now looking to sell), have long denied any direct financial ties to Putin. (British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week, as he announced new sanctions on Russian business leaders, that “clear evidence” emerged linking Abramovich “to the Putin regime.”)

But others, such as Aven, who until recently was the head of Russia’s largest private-sector bank, have admitted links to Putin. In an interview with the office of U.S. special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Aven said he was one of about 50 wealthy Russian businessmen who met regularly with Putin.

“Aven said that he took these meetings seriously and understood that any suggestions or critiques that Putin made during these meetings were implicit directives,” the special counsel’s report said, “and that there would be consequences for Aven if he did not follow through.”

Still, Aven and his longtime business partner Mikhail Fridman said in a statement this month that they would “contest the spurious and unfounded basis for the imposition” of E.U. sanctions that froze their shares in LetterOne, a $22 billion conglomerate co-founded by Fridman.

Media

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Anton Krasovsky

Tigran Keosayan

Russian journalist and

television personality

Host of the show

“International Sawmill”

on the state television

channel NTV

Yevgeniy Prilepin

Writer and activist

leader of the political

party For Truth

Modest Kolerov

Co-founder and editor in chief of

Regnum portal

Roman Babayan

TV host and editor in

chief of the Govorit

Moskva radio station

Arkady Mamontov

Russian journalist and

head of the “Arkady

Mamontov's Author

Programme” studio on

state TV channel

Russia-1

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Anton Krasovsky

Tigran Keosayan

Russian journalist and

television personality

Host of the show

“International Sawmill” on the state television

channel NTV

Yevgeniy Prilepin

Writer and activist leader of the political party For Truth

Modest Kolerov

Co-founder and editor in chief of Regnum portal

Roman Babayan

TV host and editor in chief

of the Govorit Moskva

radio station

Arkady Mamontov

Russian journalist and head

of the “Arkady Mamontov's

Author Programme” studio

on state TV channel Russia-1

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Anton Krasovsky

Tigran Keosayan

Russian journalist and

television personality

Host of the show

“International Sawmill” on the state television

channel NTV

Yevgeniy Prilepin

Modest Kolerov

Writer and activist leader of the political party For Truth

Co-founder and editor in chief of Regnum portal

Roman Babayan

Arkady Mamontov

TV host and editor in chief

of the Govorit Moskva

radio station

Russian journalist and

head of “Author’s Program

of Arkady Mamontov” on

state TV channel Russia-1

For the Kremlin, propaganda is a critical part of the war effort in Ukraine. The space for independent media has all but disappeared in Russia recently, and many outlets are either state-run or owned by oligarchs loyal to Putin.

Also, this month, Russia’s parliament passed a law that criminalizes spreading “fake news” about the Russian military. It carries a penalty of up to 15 years.

“Russia’s recent adoption of a punitive ‘fake war news’ law is an alarming move by the government to gag and blindfold an entire population,” a panel of U.N. human rights experts said in a statement Friday. “The law places Russia under a total information blackout on the war and in so doing gives an official seal of approval to disinformation and misinformation.”

The E.U., which targeted a slew of media personalities for sanctions last month, said in its official journal announcing the restrictions that those listed above have all used their platforms in Russia to support “actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

Britain designated some of the same Russian media figures. They include an editor, an author, journalists, and talk-show hosts on some of the nation’s top television networks. All of them are described by the E.U. as having spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda, including the falsehood that Ukraine is an “artificial state” that belongs to Russia.

Energy industry

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Nikolay Tokarev

Chief executive of

the energy

company Transneft

Igor Sechin

Head of state-owned oil

firm Rosneft

son

Oleg Deripaska

Founded Basic Element, one of the largest industrial groups in Russia

Ivan Sechin

Worker at Rosneft

Andrei Patrushev

Chief executive of Gazprom Neft Shelf and son of Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Nikolay Tokarev

Chief executive of the energy company Transneft

Igor Sechin

Head of state-owned oil firm Rosneft

son

Oleg Deripaska

Founded Basic Element, one of the largest industrial groups in Russia

Ivan Sechin

Worker at Rosneft

Andrei Patrushev

Chief executive of Gazprom Neft Shelf and son of Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Nikolay Tokarev

Chief executive of the energy company Transneft

Igor Sechin

Head of state-owned oil firm Rosneft

Oleg Deripaska

Founded Basic Element,

one of the largest

industrial groups

in Russia

son

Ivan Sechin

Worker at Rosneft

Andrey Patrushev

Chief executive of Gazprom Neft Shelf and son of Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev

Russia is an energy-rich country with the world’s largest proven gas reserves and a spot as its third-largest oil producer. Europe, in particular, relies heavily on Russian natural gas to help heat homes and power factories, making the country’s energy resources one of Putin’s most important geopolitical weapons.

Rosneft, the state-owned oil firm, is one of the world’s largest publicly traded oil companies, and its CEO and chairman, Igor Sechin, is a longtime Putin loyalist and aide. He holds one of the most powerful positions in the country’s economy. He also served as deputy prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

Nikolay Tokarev was a major general in Russia’s secret service, where he served with Putin in the 1980s, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Now, he is president of Transneft, the state-owned company that transports the vast majority of the oil extracted in Russia.

The United States has banned all energy imports from Russia, including oil, in a move that could deprive Moscow and its state-run energy firms of much-needed revenue. Germany said it would halt the approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a mammoth project built to bring Russian gas from Siberian fields to the German coast. The project is owned by Russia’s state-run energy giant, Gazprom.

Government

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin press secretary

Sergei Shoigu

Defense minister

Mikhail Mishustin

Sergei Sobyanin

Prime minister

Mayor of Moscow

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin press secretary

Sergei Shoigu

Defense minister

Mikhail Mishustin

Sergei Sobyanin

Prime minister

Mayor of Moscow

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin press secretary

Sergei Shoigu

Defense minister

Mikhail Mishustin

Prime minister

Sergei Sobyanin

Mayor of Moscow

Putin’s cabinet includes those tapped in a surprise shake-up in January 2020, ahead of the president’s move to push through a constitutional overhaul that would allow him to stay in power until 2036. There are some core members and other government officials, however, who have worked for the president for years.

They include his defense minister — and reported hunting and fishing partner — Sergei Shoigu, as well as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The United States, E.U. and Britain have all targeted them for sanctions in recent weeks. The U.S. Treasury Department this month also designated Peskov’s wife and two adult children, saying they live “luxurious lifestyles that are incongruous with Peskov’s civil servant salary and are likely built on the ill-gotten wealth of Peskov’s connections to Putin.”

Peskov and Shoigu have not commented publicly on the sanctions.

Shoigu, a politician with no combat experience, is nonetheless “one of the most ambitious members of Putin’s inner circle,” according to Russian investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan. He has hosted Putin at his home in the Siberian mountains, and local media reports describe him as a “close ally” and “friend” of the president.

However, Russian forces have faced fierce resistance on the Ukrainian battlefield and may have already lost up to 4,000 troops, according to Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who testified before House lawmakers last week. Those losses land squarely at the defense minister’s feet — and Putin has recently sat Shoigu at the opposite end of a long, empty table for their televised meetings, an apparent snub.

Two other officials, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin are not necessarily key wartime advisers but are responsible for implementing Putin’s domestic policy, including in the Russian capital. In response to the war in Ukraine, Britain, Switzerland and the E.U. targeted Mishustin for sanctions, while Canada put Sobyanin on its sanctions list.

Military and security

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Sergei Naryshkin

Director of the Foreign

Intelligence Service

Alexander Bortnikov

Director of the Federal

Security Service

Sergei Chemezov

Chairman of defense

manufacturing

company Rostec

Valery Gerasimov

Chief of general staff

of the Russian

armed forces

Nikolai Patrushev

Secretary of the

Security Council

Viktor Zolotov

Director of the

National Guard

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Sergei Naryshkin

Director of the Foreign

Intelligence Service

Alexander Bortnikov

Director of the Federal

Security Service

Sergei Chemezov

Chairman of defense

manufacturing

company Rostec

Valery Gerasimov

Chief of general staff of the

Russian armed forces

Nikolai Patrushev

Secretary of the

Security Council

Viktor Zolotov

Director of the National Guard

Sanctioned by:

U.S.

U.K.

E.U.

Sergei Naryshkin

Director of the Foreign

Intelligence Service

Alexander Bortnikov

Director of the Federal

Security Service

Sergei Chemezov

Chairman of defense

manufacturing

company Rostec

Valery Gerasimov

Chief of general staff of the

Russian armed forces

Nikolai Patrushev

Viktor Zolotov

Secretary of the

Security Council

Director of the National Guard

Putin, a former intelligence officer, relies most heavily on his close cadre of military and security officials, experts say. Some of his senior defense aides and spy chiefs have been at his side for years, supporting and advising on operations from Chechnya to Syria to Crimea.

Among the most important are Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service; Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council; and Sergei Naryshkin, head of the country’s foreign intelligence arm. Valery Gerasimov serves as the chief of general staff of the Russian armed forces and is responsible, in part, for planning the war.

The United States, Britain and the E.U. have all imposed sanctions on these security officials, including some who were blacklisted before the invasion last month.

But it’s impossible to tell who is calling the shots and who, if anyone, still has the president’s ear. According to U.S. and European intelligence officials, Putin’s close advisers may not be telling him the truth about how difficult and costly the war has become.

In the three weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, its forces have bombarded towns and cities with airstrikes and artillery fire, laying waste to civilian infrastructure and prompting 3 million people to flee the country, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. But Russia, despite having an advanced air force, has yet to gain control of the skies in Ukraine and has suffered major losses in both military equipment and personnel.

Photos by AFP, AP, Getty Images, Interpress, Sputnik and Tass. Photo editing by Olivier Laurent.

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