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Arkady Volozh, tech billionaire and co-founder of Russia's popular search engine Yandex, made a formal request for the EU to lift its sanctions against him, the Financial Times reported on Aug. 26.
On. Aug. 10, Volozh publicly spoke out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, calling it "barbaric."
His petition will test how the EU plans to deal with sanctioned individuals who denounce the Kremlin. The EU is expected to discuss Volozh's request next month.
"[T]here are hundreds of other sanctioned Russian businessmen watching closely to see what Brussels does," a person close to Volozh told the FT.
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. A source told the FT that Volozh then waited to condemn the war publicly until people he felt responsible for were able to get out of Russia.
Last month, the U.K. lifted sanctions against Russian tycoon Oleg Tinkov after he called the war "crazy" and surrendered his Russian citizenship. The U.K.'s decision marks the first time a sanctioned individual was able to leverage their opposition to the war in order to escape Western sanctions.
The EU updates its Russian sanctions list every six months. Volozh hopes that the EU will not renew the sanctions against him when they lapse on Sept. 15.