On 2 March 2021, the United States and European Union ("EU") imposed coordinated sanctions in response to the poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition politician Aleksey Navalny (and the related US determination that Russia has used chemical weapons). The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") designated seven Russian government officials, confirming that its action complemented the EU's designations of four Russian officials on the same day. The US State Department imposed a variety of financial sanctions and export restrictions on Russia, while the US Department of Commerce announced that it is adding 14 entities to the Entity List.


US sanctions over poisoning and imprisonment of Navalny and Russia’s use of chemical weapons

On 2 March 2021, OFAC, the US State Department, and the US Department of Commerce announced the following sanctions in response to the poisoning and imprisonment of Navalny (and based on a related determination that Russia used chemical weapons):

1. OFAC designated seven Russian government officials in response to Navalny's poisoning and imprisonment, adding them to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List ("SDN List") pursuant to the broad designation authority in relation to Russian government officials in Executive Order ("E.O.") 13661 (and E.O. 13382 with respect to one official).1 As shown by the summary table of sanctions designations below, the EU and UK had already designated five of those officials (and the EU designated two of those officials on 2 March; see below). 

  • OFAC also issued an updated General License ("GL") authorizing certain transactions with the Russian Federal Security Service ("FSB"),2 which is among the seven entities that the State Department sanctioned on 2 March. OFAC amended the GL to account for the additional authorities under which the FSB has now been sanctioned. The substantive activities which are authorized under the GL were not amended. OFAC also made corresponding changes to the related FAQs

2. The US State Department imposed the following sanctions in relation to Russia's deemed use of chemical weapons (see names of designated persons in the table below):3

  • Seven entities (including FSB) and individuals, some of which were already sanctioned, were designated and added to the SDN List pursuant to E.O. 13382 for their role in deemed chemical weapons use;  
  • Six entities were added to the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act ("CAATSA") Section 231 List, as persons that are part of, or operate for or on behalf of, the Russian Government’s defense or intelligence sectors (and in relation to which any person determined to knowingly engage in a significant transaction will be subject to at least five mandatory menu-based sanctions); and  
  • Subject to a 15-day Congressional notification period, restrictions on certain financial assistance and sale or export of sensitive goods (including defense articles or services, and goods or technology controlled on national security grounds) pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination ("CBW") Act of 1991.

3. The US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS") announced that it is adding 14 entities located in Russia, Germany and Switzerland to the Entity List.4  Thirteen of these entities were added to the Entity List "based on their proliferation activities in support of Russia’s weapons of mass destruction programs."5  BIS also added a Russian Government Ministry of Defense facility, the 27th Scientific Center of the Russian Ministry of Defense, "associated with Russia's chemical weapons activities." Further separate action by BIS – in the form of changes to the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") in the context of chemical weapons and WMD activities of Russia – remains possible. The Commerce Department recently stated in a press release regarding the Entity List additions that "BIS is actively assessing appropriate measures to be implemented under the EAR in light of the Secretary of State’s recent determination… that the Government of Russia has used chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals in violation of international law."6


First use of EU human rights sanctions over Navalny’s imprisonment

The EU’s designation of four Russian government officials on 2 March 2021,7  due to their deemed involvement in the arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Navalny, marks the first time that the EU is using its global human rights sanctions regime (established in December 2020).8  The targeted Russian officials face travel bans and the freezing of their assets held in the EU. Additionally, persons and entities subject to EU sanctions jurisdiction are prohibited from making funds available to the listed individuals, directly or indirectly.

Name (and title) of party designated by the US or EU on 2 March 2021 US9 EU 
Aleksandr BORTNIKOV, FSB Director 2 March 2021 15 Oct. 2020
Andrei YARIN, Chief of Presidential Policy Directorate 2 March 2021 15 Oct. 2020
Sergei KIRIYENKO, First Deputy Chief of Staff of Presidential Executive Office 2 March 2021 15 Oct. 2020
Aleksey KRIVORUCHKO, Deputy Minister of Defense 2 March 2021 15 Oct. 2020
Pavel POPOV, Deputy Minister of Defense 2 March 2021 15 Oct. 2020
Alexander KALASHNIKOV, Federal Penitentiary Service (“FSIN”) Director 2 March 2021 2 March 2021
Igor KRASNOV, Russia’s Prosecutor General 2 March 2021 2 March 2021
Alexander BASTRYKIN, Chairman of Russian Investigative Committee 9 Jan. 2017 2 March 2021
Viktor ZOLOTOV, Director of Federal Service of National Guard Troops 6 April 2018  2 March 2021
State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology, GosNIIOKhT 2 March 2021a 15 Oct. 2020
33rd Scientific Research and Testing Institute, 33rd TsNIII 2 March 2021a           --
27th Scientific Center, 27th NTS 2 March 2021a           --
48 Central Scientific Research Institute Sergiev Posad, 48 TsNII Sergiev Posad 2 March 2021b           --
48 Central Scientific Research Institute Kirov, 48th TsNII 2 March 2021b           --
48 Central Scientific Research Institute Yekaterinburg, 48th TsNII Yekaterinburg 2 March 2021b           --
FSB 2 March 2021c           --
Main Intelligence Directorate ("GRU") 2 March 2021c           --
Alexander Yevgeniyevich MISHKIN, GRU officer  2 March 2021c           --
Anatoliy Vladimirovich CHEPIGA, GRU officer 2 March 2021c 21 Jan. 2019

a Designated on both the SDN List and CAATSA Section 231 List.
b Only designated on the CAATSA Section 231 List.
c Already designated prior to this date under US sanctions.


See also: 


1 See US Department of the Treasury, Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials in Response to the Novichok Poisoning of Aleksey Navalny, 2 March 2021, available here.
2 See US Department of the Treasury, Issuance of Cyber-related General License and related FAQs, 2 March 2021, available here.
3 See US Department of State, US Sanctions and Other Measures Imposed on Russia in Response to Russia’s Use of Chemical Weapons: Fact Sheet, 2 March 2021, available here.
4 The final rule to add the 14 entities to the Entity List has not yet been published, but an unpublished copy is available here.
5 These 13 entities are the German entities Chimconnect Gmbh, Pharmcontract Gmbh, and Riol-Chemie; the Russian entities Chimmed Group, Femteco, Interlab, LabInvest, OOO Analit Products, OOO Intertech Instruments, Pharmcontract GC, Rau Farm, and Regionsnab; and the Swiss entity Chimconnect AG.
6 See US Department of Commerce press release of 2 March 2021, available here.
7 See Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/371 of 2 March 2021, available here.
8 For more information, see White & Case alert of 9 December 2020, available here.
9 Unless otherwise noted, the US sanctions imposed involve designation on the SDN List.

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