Ukraine and its authorities created an online database and tools, which will help them determine which Russian oligarchs fall under sanctions. Also, to determine what artworks they possess. The goal is to prevent Russian powers from using art to evade sanctions and launder money. The database’s name is “Art and War”, and it holds information on various paintings, sculptures, and other artworks.
Ukraine Platform’s Goals
Country’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has the authority over the tool. This asset refers to valuable artworks used by Russian businessmen since 2014 when the Russian-Ukrainian war began. The NACP explained its goal. The agency wants to “make it easier for virtuous art market participants to carry out sanctions checks” and to “make it difficult for Russian oligarchs”, to launder money through art.
The database includes more than three hundred pieces, with Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi. Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev sold the painting at Christie’s for a record-smashing $450.3 million in 2017. There is also Andy Warhol‘s 1961 painting Four Marilyns, currently owned by Vladimir Putin-associate Mikhail Fridman. Also, there are other pieces: Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso’s.
Each entry includes basic information about the listed artwork, such as who created it and when, as well as a calculation of its worth and any connections to authorised parties. The online platform also has an interface that allows people to report other pertinent pieces of art and their owners.
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Which Oligarchs are Sanctioned?
Russian billionaires Petr Aven, Viatcheslav Kantor, Andrey Melnichenko, and Arkady Rotenberg are among the collectors in the Ukrainian database. They are under the sanctions of the European Union, the United Kingdom, or the United States. Why? For giving support to Russia leading war against Ukraine.
Dasha Zhukova, who founded the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and currently serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is also included in the database. But, she is not under sanctions. Zhukova was formerly married to Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire sanctioned by the U.K., EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in 2022 for his relationship to Putin.
“Russian oligarchs, despite the sanctions imposed on them, can still easily hide and launder their money through art objects”, said the NACP. “The ‘War and Art’ section will contribute to the work on preventing the circumvention of sanctions, finding artistic assets of sanctioned Russians with the aim of their further freezing, confiscation and future transfer to Ukraine”.