Seize, Sell ALL Assets of Russian Oligarchs. Send to Ukraine NOW

The Biden administration has announced the seizure of assets of Russian oligarchs. “These individuals and their family members will be cut off from the U.S. financial system, their assets in the United States will be frozen and their property will be blocked from use,” they said. So far, it seems the main seizures are of luxury jets and yachts. There are three problems with this:

  • First is that the main assets seized are luxury jets and yachts and that stock market accounts and real estate investments are apparently left out.
  • Second is that the assets are merely frozen, but not sold. So the wealth doesn’t go where it should and when it should: to the Ukrainian people and right now.
  • Third, and most important, is the difficulty in finding the majority of the assets. That’s because much of the wealth is hidden in shell companies. Those are companies whose ownership is completely hidden. This is enabled by the fact that companies are chartered by state law, and there has been a competition over the years between different states for who can make the most lax laws in order to entice oligarchs and other criminals to charter their companies in that particular state. The state that leads in this dirty competition is Biden’s home state, Delaware.

To my knowledge, the law that legalizes asset seizure in the US “temporarily” exempts real estate from such seizure, but the real estate industry is the one that is most commonly used for money laundering through shell companies.

We should demand:

  1. That the assets not only be seized but that they be sold immediately and the money given to the Ukrainian people immediately.
  2. Immediately eliminate any exemption of real estate or any other asset from such seizures.
  3. End the existence of all shell companies so that the true wealth of these oligarchs can be found. 

Update: We should also call for the seizure of the assets of Ukrainian oligarchs!

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4 replies »

  1. These sentiments are certainly understandable. But there seems to be a fly in the ointment. If all these assets could be seized, who would distribute them to the “Ukrainian people?”

    Would they be distributed by American oligarchs and capitalist politicians?

    Furthermore, who would the Biden administration consider to be these worthy recipients? Would NATO and the west consider Ukrainian oligarchs to be “the people”?

    Will these seized assets actually be used to fight the Russian invasion, or will a great deal of them end up in the private accounts of various wealthy Ukrainian oligarchs?

    Currently, Zelinskyy is popularly regarded to be a hero, whatever that means. Certainly, he shows more courage than your average craven capitalist politician. However, the Ukrainian government with its long history of corruption, seeks to be in alliance with NATO.

    In spite of this, we must unconditionally support Ukraine’s right to obtain weapons from the devil himself if necessary to repel this unspeakable display of Russian chauvinism and imperialism.

    At the same time, we must remember why Putin is so dead-set against NATO. NATO imperialism and Russian imperialism are opposing forces. NATO is a coalition of western imperialist powers created to first defeat the Soviet Union and then to confront Russian imperialism.

    It would be great if Ukrainian unions, neighborhood organizations, or nonprofit charitable organizations were in charge of the distribution of this stolen wealth that the Russian oligarchs stole from the people of the Soviet Union.

    But realistically, how can we eliminate the graft that likely would occur, considering that Ukraine has had notoriously corrupt governments?

    The capitalist class in Ukraine has made some efforts to curb corruption, but who knows how successful they have been.

    I would really love to know the answers to these questions before I would sign on to Oakland Socialists’ demands.

    • You raise all the right questions. That’s what would have to be worked out. Among other things, such a campaign would have to find out more about the different groups on the ground in Ukraine, and maybe we could call for the wealth to go directly to them. In any case, it would be a step forward if the ability to set up shell companies were eliminated, no matter what else happened. Same with actually selling the oligarchs’ assets rather than just seizing and holding them.

  2. It is indeed unfortunate that the historical Left in the occupied U.S. has no say in anything. Seizing the “assets” of oligarchs in Russia might give folks here an idea. Arming the militias and militarists of Ukraine with dollars? Seems to me that they are sufficiently armed as is. How did that happen? It is no accident that the political leadership of the Government of the Ukraine made the decisions that it did. It does seem as if NATO is intent on dismantling and re-configuring Russia and China to its preferences in hopes of new markets and sources of resources for the Mother Country. The inevitability of war once again raises its head and is systemmatic in nature, not driven by personalities.

    • What I meant is that the wealth gained by such seizures should be used to pay for the US sending arms to Ukraine. It implies support for the US arming Ukraine, obviously. That raises the question of trusting the Ukrainian government, but that is an issue for the Ukrainian working class to struggle over. I think also we should link that call with a call to seize the assets of those Western “oligarchs” who have profited from building up the Russian military industrial complex. Shouldn’t their assets be seized and used to not only pay for the rebuilding of Ukraine once the invaders are expelled, but also to repay the US taxpayers – the working class – for having paid for the arms already sent over there? Also, there is the question of the war profiteers such as the oil industry, which is profiting mightily through the explosion of oil prices. How about seizing their “assets”? I am working on something that explores these and related questions more in depth. Meanwhile, thanks for your comments.

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