Petition against cooperation with Russian corrupt officials, for the end of repressions in Russia

We, the citizens and residents of Iceland, ask Alþingi to reconsider Iceland’s relations with and policies towards Russia. We respectfully request that all negotiations of partnership and collaboration are ceased until the extremely urgent issues referenced below are resolved, and the goals set out in the points below are achieved:

1. The Release of all prisoners of conscience (regardless of whether those prisoners are of Russian or Ukrainian citizenship or the citizens of other countries). According to the Memorial Human Rights Centre, more than 400 people are currently being persecuted in Russia for their political or religious views, and the majority of them are held in prison. Those on the Memorial Human Rights Centre’s list of political prisoners includes Alexei Navalny, and the criteria used by the Memorial Human Rights Centre is based upon the PACE Resolution 1900 (2012). The Memorial Human Rights Centre’s list of prisoners can be viewed here.

2. The repeal of all repressive laws, including any that refer to the status of “foreign agent” in respect to both organizations and individuals, as well as any law which refers to the status of “undesirable organization”. The existence of such laws contradicts Russia’s international obligations, including those that were established before the Council of Europe. The Venice Commission of the CE made recommendations to abrogate or change these laws in 2021.
3. The establishment of a free and fair State Parliament and local government elections in 2021, with the admission of international observers and journalists, together with formally accredited and independent Russian observers (including those who are part of the Golos Movement). Independent candidates must also be admitted, including those who have been charged with criminal offences on political purely grounds. We believe that unless the Russian government demonstrates that it is truly prepared to hold free and fair elections, any collaboration should be suspended, with such suspension extending to collaboration for economic purposes.
We also urge you to examine the issue of the EU’s failure to efficiently and swiftly implement sanctions against Russian officials, corporations, organizations and individuals engaged in business. You are respectfully requested to seriously consider establishing sanctions against all parties who directly or indirectly contribute to human rights abuses in Russia and/or the violation of Russia’s international obligations, including those which Russia is obliged to abide by as a member of OSCE and the Council of Europe. The executive director of Alexey Navalny’s “Anti-Corruption Foundation”, Vladimir Ashurkov, created a list of such persons in February 2021. This list contains the names of 35 Russians who, to one degree or another and in various ways, are responsible for the violation of the standards enshrined within international law in Russia. Please see Complement 1 below for details.

Furthermore, we respectfully request the Icelandic nation to advocate the following three steps at the Council of Europe:

1. The seizure of assets. Personal and economic sanctions imposed in 2014-2020 delivered some results. However, an expansion of existing sanctions would, in our view, be insufficient to deal with the severe situation which currently exists in Russia. The Bundestag Deputy, Jürgen Trittin, has raised the possibility of freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs when these are within the territory of the European Union. We believe that the current situation does, indeed, require such targeted actions. Many billionaires who grew rich through their personal friendship with Putin can be found in the Russian political arena. Not only are they ‘Putin's wallets’, they are also, quite disturbingly, direct political participants in the Kremlin. Assets belonging to those who appear on Ashurkov’s above referred to list that exist within the territory of Iceland should be frozen, and all financial transactions within Europe related to the activities of those listed should be ceased.
2. Commence an investigation. The Russian state and its authorities have been responsible for numerous violations of international law and obligations, the suppression of individuals and organizations, and blatantly criminal actions over a long period of time. Cases have been submitted to OSCE and also to the European Court of Human Rights, and this kind of conduct on the part of the Russian state should no longer be ignored.

3. Cease the laundering of Russian stolen money in Europe. Since 2014, the Kremlin has created numerous tools to bypass existing sanctions, and some of these were revealed in OCCRP’s ‘Operation Russian Laundromat’ investigation. More information is available here. This situation should not be ignored any longer, and the Kremlin´s assets in other jurisdictions should not be overlooked. The withdrawal of the Kremlin funds to Singapore, Qatar, Cyprus, and other offshore accounts should not perpetuate as the everyday means of evading sanctions for the next decade. It is now essential that reliance is placed upon the consolidated decisions of G7 nations, the USA and the European Union to deal with the toxic assets of the Kremlin, regardless of which jurisdiction they fall under.
In January 2011, one of Putin's opponents, Boris Nemtsov, a liberal politician whose assassination was motivated by his political activities, publicly discussed the need for personal sanctions for the first time. Since then, the European policy of 'soft signals” towards the Kremlin has not produced any discernable result. We are certain a very different approach is necessary, and that without this the current appalling situation will persist for the foreseeable future.
We are aware that Iceland has constraints because it is a small state in the international area. However, we also know that Iceland has been brave enough to stand up and highlight human rights violations, especially ones that other nations must know about but have been reluctant to mention. People around the world see Iceland as a country which punches above its weight when it comes to the issues of justice and human rights. The UN resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines, which was initiated and promoted by Iceland in 2019, is a recent example of Iceland’s strength in this regard. We are talking about violations in Russia, and that is a big difference. As a European country and a close neighbor of Iceland, a relationship has existed over many centuries, and that means that Russian corruption and violations affect Iceland directly.

Complement 1

Recommended List of Individuals for Sanctioning  

Priority Shortlist  

1. Roman Abramovich  

Billionaire businessman with a wide portfolio of holdings in Russia and globally, one of the key enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin’s kleptocracy, with significant ties to, and assets in the West.  

2. Denis Bortnikov  

Deputy President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board. He is the son of Alexander Bortnikov, FSB director and a key ally of Vladimir Putin, who acts as a “wallet” for his father’s ill-gotten gains to hide their true beneficiary and avoid existing sanctions.  

3. Andrey Kostin  

President and Chairman of the Management Board of state-owned VTB Bank, a key facilitator of corrupt money flows related to the operation of the Russian government and security services and the personal fortunes of many senior Russian officials.  

4. Mikhail Murashko  

Minister of Health, responsible for covering up Alexey Navalny's poisoning and hindering efforts to evacuate him to Germany for medical treatment.  

5. Dmitry Patrushev  

Minister of Agriculture. He is the son of Nikolai Patrushev, director of the Security Council of Russia and a key ally of Vladimir Putin’s, who acts as a “wallet” for his father’s ill-gotten gains to hide their true beneficiary and avoid existing sanctions.  

6. Igor Shuvalov  

Former First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Development Corporation VEB.RF, with significant assets abroad. Shuvalov was instrumental in creating the system of state corruption, which has come to dominate the country’s institutions.  

7. Vladimir Solovyev  

A high-profile Russian state media personality, one of the primary mouthpieces of authoritarian propaganda, who has both defended and advocated the extrajudicial treatment of Alexey Navalny and other opposition figures. 

8. Alisher Usmanov  

Billionaire businessman with a wide portfolio of holdings in Russia and globally, and significant ties to the West, one of the key enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin’s kleptocracy.  

Persecution of Alexey Navalny  

9. Alexander Bastrykin  

Head of the Investigative Committee, the primary agency behind numerous fabricated and illegal cases against numerous journalists, activists and opposition figures.  

10. Alexander Bortnikov  

Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the main political police agency, responsible inter alia for the attempted poisoning of Alexey Navalny.  

11. Konstantin Ernst  

CEO of the state-owned Channel One TV station, a primary source of state propaganda vilifying civil society and opposition activities and encouraging extra-judicial repression.  

12. Victor Gavrilov  

Head of the Department of Transport of the Economic Security Service within the Federal Security Bureau (FSB). He was responsible for coordinating various agencies during the arrival of Alexey Navalny’s flight to Moscow, including its diversion to Sheremetyevo, where he was arrested.  

13. Dmitry Ivanov  

Head of Chelyabinsk FSB. Head of Tomsk FSB when Alexey Navalny was poisoned there by an FSB team.  

14. Alexander Kalashnikov  

Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), who has overseen continued human rights abuses in the penal system, and also engineered the illegal arrest of Alexey Navalny on his return to Moscow.  

15. Sergei Kirienko  

First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, with special responsibility for domestic politics, including efforts to prevent Alexey Navalny’s “smart voting” campaign and exclude opposition candidates.  

16. Elena Morozova  

Judge of Khimki District Court, who presided over the illegal, ad hoc court inside a local police station and sentenced Alexey Navalny to 30 days in prison without bail to allow for his further trial.  

17. Denis Popov  

Chief Prosecutor of Moscow, whose office has spearheaded a campaign against Navalny's team through investigations and the courts.

18. Margarita Simonyan  

Editor-in-Chief of state media network RT, a key mouthpiece of state propaganda abroad, who herself has boasted that RT is capable of “conducting an information war against the whole Western world”.  

19. Igor Yanchuk  

Head of the Khimki Police Department, responsible for Alexey Navalny’s arrest on his return to Russia and arranging his illegal, ad hoc trial in a local police station.  

20. Victor Zolotov  

Director of the National Guard, the agency primarily responsible for the violent suppression of opposition activity on the streets, and one of Putin’s most loyal supporters. Zolotov also challenged Navalny to a duel and threatened to “make mincemeat” of him.  

Wallets and Cronies  

21. Oleg Deripaska  

Billionaire businessman with a wide portfolio of holdings in Russia and globally, one of the key enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin's kleptocracy, with significant ties to, and assets in the West.  

22. Alexei Miller  

Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom, the state-controlled gas corporation, and a significant instrument of covert Russian influence abroad. Miller is one of the key enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin’s kleptocracy.  

23. Igor Sechin  

Chairman of the Management Board of Rosneft and close and long-term ally of Vladimir Putin. He is one of the key enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin’s kleptocracy and also the driving force behind policies such as support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela.  

24. Gennady Timchenko  

Billionaire businessman with a wide portfolio of holdings in Russia and globally, a close Putin ally and reported “wallet” of the president, with significant ties to and assets in the West.  

25. Nikolai Tokarev  

Chairman of Transneft, one of the enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin's kleptocracy, including the construction of Putin's palace in Gelendzhik.  

Abuse of Freedoms  

26. Alexander Beglov  

Governor of St Petersburg, close ally of Vladimir Putin's, whose corrupt activities were highlighted by a Navalny investigation, and 6of7who has since been supportive of measures to limit freedom of protest and assembly.  

27. Yuri Chaika  

Presidential representative to the Caucasus Region, but until 2020, Prosecutor General and responsible for the Kremlin’s sustained campaign of persecution of civil society.  

28. Andrei Kartapolov   Deputy Defence Minister and Chief of Main Directorate for Political-Military Affairs, responsible for using conscription as a means or persecuting activists, and reportedly involved in the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 in 2014.  

29. Pavel Krasheninnikov  

Parliamentarian and former Justice Minister, Krasheninnikov personally drafted or supported numerous recent authoritarian laws, including a recent proposal that would make it even harder to prosecute former presidents on corruption charges.  

30. Mikhail Mishustin  

Prime Minister of Russia, and as such the chief executor of Vladimir Putin's policies.  

31. Ella Pamfilova  

Head of Central Electoral Commission, who has endorsed and legitimized the Kremlin’s unfree and unfair elections and consultative votes on a systematic basis.  

32. Dmitry Peskov  

Presidential Press Secretary, the primary spokesman for the Russian government, who has denied any illegal campaign against Navalny and, indeed, any Russian malign activities at home or abroad.  

33. Sergei Sobyanin  

Mayor of Moscow, and the primary executor of Russian government policy in the capital, including vote rigging and facilitating criminal activity through corrupt municipal projects.  

34. Anton Vaino  

Head of the Presidential Administration, arguably the most powerful institution in Russia and the primary coordinating body for the Kremlin’s policies at home and abroad.  

35. Andrey Vorobyev   Governor of the Moscow Region, whose corrupt activities Navalny has revealed.  

Persons listed above who are already on US sanctions lists  

Alexander Bastrykin

SDN –Magnitsky Act, 2017.  

Oleg Deripaska

SDN –Ukraine (EO13661, EO13662).  

Andrey Kostin

SDN –Ukraine (EO13661)

Alexei Miller

SDN –Ukraine (EO13661)

Igor Sechin

SDN –Ukraine (EO13661)

Gennady Timchenko

SDN –Ukraine (EO13661)

Victor Zolotov

SDN –Ukraine (EO1366)

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