No.10 May Have Sanctioned Roman Abramovich, But Twitter Still Isn't Happy

"Please don't congratulate the government on this."
Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has just been sanctioned by the government
Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has just been sanctioned by the government
via Associated Press

No.10 announced new sanctions against Russian oligarch and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich on Thursday – and everyone on Twitter had something to say.

The news comes two weeks after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in a brutal and unprovoked attack.

While the UK – along with the rest of the West and its Nato allies – has made it clear that it does not want to engage directly in a war with Russia, many of the public have been calling for Downing Street to punish the rich Russian business people in positions of power in Britain.

Despite calls for Abramovich in particular to be sanctioned growing over the last fortnight, the oligarch tried to stay away from the spotlight and even announced that he was selling Chelsea back on March 2.

Now, the government has confirmed that Abramovich had “a close relationship for decades” with Putin and received “preferential treatment and concessions” from the Russian government.

It also claimed he was involved in “destabilising Ukraine” through Evraz Plc, Russia’s largest steel producer which provided steel for Russian tanks.

His assets have now been frozen as prime minister Boris Johnson promised there could be “no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine”.

The sanctions mean he cannot sell the football club without government permission, although the culture secretary Nadine Dorries has clarified that Chelsea would be granted a “special licence” so it can still play fixtures and pay its staff.

Abramovich’s jets and yachts (estimated to be worth £4.9 million) will also be seized. The oligarch is yet to personally address the sanctions, but in a statement following the government announcement, The Chelsea Supporters Trust said: “The CST implores the government to conduct a swift process to minimise the uncertainty over Chelsea’s future, for supporters and for supporters to be given a golden share as part of a sale of the club.”

Abramovich is one of six other wealthy Russians who have recently been affected by this fresh wave of sanctions, but on Twitter, some people claim that the government has acted too late.

Other Twitter users wanted to see exactly what the government seized before deciding if No.10 had gone far enough.

A few pointed out that Chelsea would be just fine without Abramovich, as “most clubs aren’t owned by oligarchs”.

A couple of users wanted to go even further and use oligarchs’ homes to house Ukrainian refugees.

Others suggested the UK was still a long way off meeting the public demand for the sanctions.

And, of course, some people just made jokes.


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