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Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) listens to Yandex's CEO Arkady Volozh (R) while visiting the main office of Yandex on Sept. 21, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
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The EU decided on March 12 to lift sanctions against Arkady Volozh, the co-founder of Russia's most popular search engine, Yandex.

Volozh's name was listed in an announcement on the EU's website along with 11 other individuals who were removed from the sanctions list.

The EU sanctioned Volozh in June 2022, arguing that Yandex promotes pro-government narratives and is complicit in Russia's war against Ukraine. Volozh resigned as CEO of Yandex after being sanctioned.

Volozh has publicly spoke out against the war, calling it "barbaric."

He has since been presenting himself as an "Israeli entrepreneur born in Kazakhstan" in his online biography, omitting his Russian ties.

In late August 2023, the Financial Times (FT) reported that Volozh had made a formal request for the EU to lift its sanctions against him. A source told the FT that Volozh then waited to condemn the war publicly until people he felt responsible for were able to leave Russia.

Reuters reported in February 2024 that the EU was planning to remove Volozh from the sanctions list.

European Parliament votes to criminalize circumvention of EU sanctions
The new directive defines the circumvention of sanctions and ensures that it will be treated as an offense punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years in all member states.

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