WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is once again taking action to hold the Government of Russia accountable for its poisoning of Russian opposition politician Aleksey Navalny (Navalny) three years ago on August 20, 2020. Russian authorities imprisoned Navalny upon his return to Russia in January 2021, and on August 4, 2023, a Russian court sentenced Navalny to an additional 19 years in prison on unfounded charges of so-called “extremism.” The State Department is also announcing related visa restrictions on the individuals designated today.
“Today we remind Vladimir Putin and his regime that there are consequences not only for waging a brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine, but also for violating the human rights of the Russian people,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The assassination attempt against Aleksey Navalny in 2020 represents the Kremlin’s contempt for human rights, and we will continue to use the authorities at our disposal to hold the Kremlin’s willing would-be executioners to account.”
AUGUST 2020 POISONING OF ALEKSEY NAVALNY
Navalny came to prominence as a leading Russian anti-corruption activist more than a decade ago. Exposés published by Navalny and his organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, have revealed the ill-gained wealth of Russia’s elite politicians and their families, including, among others, President Vladimir Putin, former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Kremlin spokesperson Dmitriy Peskov. As a vocal anti-corruption politician, Navalny has continued his fight against Russia’s kleptocracy despite the Kremlin’s attempts to silence him.
On August 20, 2020, approximately 30 minutes into a flight back to Moscow after campaigning in Tomsk and Novosibirsk, Navalny fell gravely ill, prompting an emergency landing in Omsk where Navalny was treated by local hospital staff. The U.S. government assesses that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers used the nerve agent Novichok to poison Navalny. Novichok nerve agents were created by the Soviet Union, and Russia is the only known country to have used these chemical weapons. Russia previously used a Novichok nerve agent in the March 2018 attempted assassination of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom.
The Russian operation against Navalny reportedly involved multiple individuals who were on the ground in both Tomsk and Omsk, as well as operatives coordinating the situation from afar. These individuals collaborated to surveil Navalny ahead of the attack, break into his hotel room and apply the chemical weapon to his personal belongings, and they attempted to erase any evidence of their operation following the attack.
Today, OFAC sanctioned Alexey Alexandrovich Alexandrov (Alexandrov), Konstantin Kudryavtsev (Kudryavtsev), Ivan Vladimirovich Osipov (Osipov), and Vladimir Alexandrovich Panyaev (Panyaev), all of whom were involved in the poisoning of Navalny. Alexandrov, Kudryavtsev, Osipov, and Panyaev were designated pursuant to the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 for having acted as agents of or on behalf of a person in a matter relating to extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the Government of the Russian Federation.
The majority of individuals implicated in Navalny’s poisoning have been reported to have worked within or collaborated with the FSB Criminalistics Institute, an FSB sub-unit originally founded under the Soviet-era Committee for State Security (the KGB) as a specialized laboratory. The FSB Criminalistics Institute was designated on August 20, 2021 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the FSB.
Alexandrov is an FSB Criminalistics Institute operative who has been reported to be one of the main perpetrators of Navalny’s poisoning. Alexandrov also reportedly surveilled Nikita Isaev, another Russian anti-corruption activist, prior to Isaev’s death on a train in Russia in 2019.
Kudryavtsev is another FSB Criminalistics Institute operative reported to be part of the group involved in Navalny’s poisoning. Kudryavtsev admitted to his involvement in the cleanup operation following Navalny’s poisoning. Kudryavtsev also reportedly was involved in surveillance of Russian opposition politician and Putin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza.
Osipov is an FSB Criminalistics Institute operative who has been reported to be one of the main perpetrators of Navalny’s poisoning.
Panyaev is an FSB operative who reportedly tailed Navalny on multiple occasions prior to the attack.
Alexandrov, Kudryavtsev, Osipov, and Panyaev were previously designated on August 20, 2021 pursuant to E.O. 13382 for acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the FSB.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE ACTIONS
Today’s designations are complemented by the Department of State’s announcement of visa restrictions against Alexandrov, Kudryavtsev, Osipov, and Panyaev under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act for their involvement in a gross violation of human rights. Pursuant to 7031(c), Alexandrov, Kudryavtsev, Osipov, Panyaev, and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt. These prohibitions generally include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.