Sergey Guriev has been accused of hurting opponents of Putin more than his government
Sergey Guriev, a Russian-born economist who advised the West on the type of sanctions that could have the greatest impact on his home nation, said on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday that he has suffered from some of them, as three of his bank accounts have been closed.
Last week, the man was accused of causing “friendly fire” through the restrictions, which, according to critics, do little to undermine the power of Russian President Vladimir Putin and hurt his opponents instead. Guriev is member of the International Working Group on Russian Sanctions, also known as the Yermak-McFaul Expert Group after its co-chairs.
Andrey Yermak heads the office of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, while Michael McFaul, Washington’s former ambassador to Moscow, is a prominent Western anti-Russian figure. The advisory body has published 15 papers on how the US and its allies could best target Russia and has assessed the impact of the sanctions.
Guriev’s role in the group was highlighted last week by some Russian anti-government activists and media outlets, including SVTV News, which described the man and fellow economist Sergey Aleksashenko “architects of the sanctions.” Neither of them lives in Russia.
“Now we know why liberals get triggered when asked about blocked bank accounts and other sanctions that hit ordinary people and not Putin. Because the liberals not only invent those sanctions, but also demand ramping them up,” libertarian politician Mikhail Svetov, the publisher of SVTV News, said.
Public outrage directed at the experts online, as described by the opposition media outlet Meduza, is partially based on an argument that Western measures such as travel bans and banking service denials mostly affect Russian nationals who oppose the government, particularly those who fled their homeland amid the Ukraine crisis.
Guriev has distanced himself from some of the Yermak-McFaul Group recommendations attributed to him, stating that “due to lack of time, I could not take part in the work on most reports, which is why I did not sign them.” He endorsed five of the documents signed by him, describing their purpose as undermining “the capability of Putin’s military industry,” the Russian budget income, and sanctions avoidance.
SVTV News cited a recent interview that Guriev gave in which he discussed bans on Russian-registered cars imposed by some of its EU neighbors in September.
“They carry microchips in the trunks of those cars. By definition microchips are so small that you can bring enough in a trunk to produce a month-worth supply of missiles,” he told the New Times.
Aleksashenko, who, unlike Guriev, signed a Yermak-McFaul report that proposed banning Russian nationals from traveling to Western nations, said he personally opposed it. Speaking to Meduza, he described his support for the document as “sacrificing ego” to include a better alternative option in the final product.
You can share this story on social media: