On March 2, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control joined with US Departments of State and Commerce, to sanction seven Russian government officials for their role in Russia’s poisoning and subsequent imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alesksy Navalny. In August of 2020 German doctors confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, a substance created by the former Soviet Union and only used as a chemical weapon by Russia. For these reasons, the US believes that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) used the nerve agent to poison Navalny – a conclusion also reached by officials in the EU and UK.
US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen released a statement declaring that the US has joined the EU in condemning Russia’s poisoning, arrest, and imprisonment of Navalny, and the use of chemical weapons to intimidate protestors and a political opponent, after the EU contemporaneously imposed sanctions against four Russian officials for the same actions. US sanctions also complement EU and UK sanctions that were taken in October 2020 against senior Russian officials and a state research institute for their involvement in Navalny’s poisoning.
The seven officials that were designated by OFAC include Russia’s Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in charge of internal intelligence, chief of the Kremlin’s domestic policy, the head of presidential policy, the head of defense/armaments; the head of defense/science and technology, the head of prisons, and Russia’s prosecutor general. The designations were made pursuant to Executive Order 13661 because the officials served in the Russian government. The Director of the FSB was also designated pursuant to EO 13382 for acting directly and indirectly for the FSB, an entity that was previously sanctioned by OFAC for malicious cyber activities, pursuant to EO 13694, as amended by EO 13757 and Section 224 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
As a result of these designations, all US property is blocked, and all transactions and dealings with these individuals are generally prohibited. In addition, any entity in the US that is owned fifty percent or more by a sanctioned person is also blocked.