The European Union has sanctioned Rostelecom president Mikhail Oseevsky, Yandex deputy CEO Tigran Khudaverdyan, and VK Company CEO Vladimir Kiriyenko due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions restrict the individuals from traveling to the EU or doing business with companies that operate there.
The EU said that it enacted the sanctions due to “a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” which is “grossly violating international law and the principles of the UN Charter, and undermining European and global security and stability."
It said that Mikhail Oseevsky was among 37 businesspeople that met with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the invasion and early sanctions. "The fact that he was invited to attend this meeting shows that he is a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin."
Telco Rostelecom is the largest provider of digital services in Russia. Rostelecom operates data centers in Moscow, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, and Chita. Further facilities are planned in Murmansk. As well as opening a number of new facilities last year, the company recently announced plans for a 55MW hyperscale data center in Moscow.
Vladimir Kiriyenko runs VK, previously known as Mail.ru, which operates a large portfolio of Internet sites. Among them are email, social networks, instant messaging, cloud (personal, not IaaS), and the Kapsula smart speaker.
More than 90 percent of Russian Internet users visit VK properties every month.
The controlling stake in the company is owned by Gazprom-Media, part of Gazprombank, a major source of revenue for the Russian state. "Kiriyenko therefore actively supports, materially or financially, or benefits from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilization of Ukraine," the EU said.
Kiriyenko is also the son of Sergei Kiriyenko, currently First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Office.
As for Tigran Khudaverdyan, his company is Russia's predominant search engine and a growing cloud provider. The EU claimed that Yandex hides information about the war from its search engine and said Khudaveryan was among those that met with Putin on 24 February.
Yandex, which has been delisted and warned that it might default on debts, is technically domiciled in the Netherlands. This might make it difficult for Khudaverdyan to continue to work at the company. We have asked Yandex for clarification on his status.