Panicked Russian Oligarchs Fear Their Yachts Are Next Victim of Putin’s War

The last few days have brought a drumbeat of horrifying news and heartbreaking images out of Ukraine that defy logic. NICU babies crammed into basements. Stranded orphans and the adoptive parents who have been unable to reach them. Holocaust survivors who beat the unimaginable only to experience the same feelings of terror as when the Nazis hunted them. Murdered schoolchildren. Dead teachers. Families torn apart “as women and children flee but men are ordered back to the fight.” Threats of nuclear deployment. Lives sacrificed all to feed the ego of one megalomaniac.

Amidst the human toll, you might be surprised to hear there are people worried about the impact of Putin’s war on their yachts. No that’s not a euphemism for “family” or “neighbors” or “kids.” Yes, we’re talking about very large boats.

Oh, did you not know about the plight of the yachts? To get you up to speed, there are yachts, big ones, owned by Russian oligarchs, and those oligarchs are apparently petrified about what might happen to said yachts as a result of Russia invading Ukraine, in the same way that a normal person might be terrified about what might happen to their actual human children during war. But in this case, we’re talking about inanimate objects. Shiny, expensive inanimate objects, but inanimate objects nevertheless!


Superyachts owned by Russian billionaires who have ties to President Vladimir Putin are on the move as the United States and its allies prepare further sanctions on their property following the invasion of Ukraine. Data reviewed by CNBC from Marine Traffic shows that at least four massive yachts owned by Russian business leaders have been moving toward Montenegro and the Maldives [neither of which have an extradition treaty with the U.S.] since a wide array of sanctions were announced in recent days by leaders from around the world, including the U.S. Treasury targeting Russia’s central bank.

The property of targeted Russian executives is likely to take another hit, as the Biden administration recently announced the creation of a taskforce that will take aim at their lucrative assets, including yachts and mansions. France is putting together a list of properties owned by Russian oligarchs, including cars and yachts, that could be seized under sanctions by the European Union.

Vagit Alekperov, president of Russia-based Lukoil, is sailing his yacht from Barcelona to Montenegro, where it is expected to arrive in the coming days, according to Marine Traffic data reported by CNBC. The yacht is called Galactica Super Nova, and like a proud parent, Alekperov would probably want us to tell you that his vessel reportedly features a “a 6-meter glass-bottom swimming pool with a waterfall. And a touch-and-go helipad, an elevator, and a large beach club.” Perhaps having realized ahead of time the lengths Russian president Vladimir Putin was willing to go to in a pathetic attempt to rebuild the Soviet Union, billionaire Oleg Deripaska already got a jump on things. His yacht, Clio, reportedly departed Sri Lanka two weeks ago and is headed for the Maldives, where it is expected to dock soon. (Deripaska is no stranger to sanctions, having personally been sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018.) Meanwhile, Putin’s reported own superyacht “abruptly” left Hamburg earlier this month before finishing repairs, according to German media, and while the Russian president hasn’t come out and said it was because he didn’t want the reportedly $100 million boat seized after he invaded a neighboring country, it seems pretty clear that’s why the vessel left in such a hurry. (Or as Bernie Sanders tweeted: “Putin, a multi-billionaire, is the poster boy for greed and oligarchy. Maybe, before starting a war that could kill thousands and displace millions, he might worry more about the people of Ukraine and Russia and less about his precious super-yacht.”

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