Russia’s Jewish oligarchs, 4 months into the war on Ukraine: Where are they now?

(JTA) — When Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, attention swiftly fell on influential Russians and others who would likely face economic sanctions as part of the international response to the unprovoked war.

Among the previously identified potential targets for sanctions were a host of Jewish oligarchs, men who had profited through their involvement in businesses tied to the Russian government. Now, nearly five months later, almost all of them have indeed faced steep consequences for their ties to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

Of the 18 Jewish oligarchs identified as likely sanctions targets by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in March, 15 are now subject to them. Together, they are worth over $120 billion.

They are among thousands of Russians who have been sanctioned since the war’s onset, including more than 1,200 by the United States.


Many of the Russian Jewish men who now face travel bans and frozen assets have connections with European and American Jewish organizations, often through their philanthropic giving. Their sanctions have started to ripple through the Jewish giving world; for example, the three founders of the Genesis Philanthropy Group all stepped down from the board after being sanctioned, and a former member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, urged a boycott of the annual Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem.

A few of the men on the list who have distanced themselves from Putin by speaking out against the war have avoided sanctions so far, including Yuri Milner, the Bay Area-based social media magnate. But condemning the war has not universally insulated the oligarchs from sanctions: Oleg Deripaska said “destroying Ukraine would be a colossal mistake” but remains under the sanctions that the United States imposed on him in 2018.

Here’s what you need to know about Russia’s Jewish oligarchs and how they have behaved and fared since February.