Mazepin and father hit with EU sanctions

Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin and his father Dmitry have been added to the list of Russians subject to European sanctions following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

A total of 160 persons were announced as newly subject to sanctions by the Council of the European Union, with the Mazepins part of a group of 14 who are deemed to be “supporting and benefitting from the government of the Russian Federation or providing a substantial source of revenue to it, or associated with listed persons or entities.”

The Haas Formula 1 team cut ties with the Mazepins last week, dropping Nikita as a driver and the Uralkali fertiliser business of which Dmitry is an owner as sponsor.

Mazepin junior has been sanctioned because of his association with his father, with the EU stating, “He is a natural person associated with a leading businessperson (his father) involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine.”

Dmitry’s ownership of Uralchem was cited as one reason for his sanctions, although he was also said to be in Russian President Vladmir Putin’s “closest circle”, as evidenced by a recent meeting of which he was a part.

“Dmitry Arkadievich Mazepin is the owner and CEO of the mineral fertiliser company Uralchem,” read the EU’s statement.

“Uralchem Group is a Russian manufacturer of a wide range of chemical products, including mineral fertilisers and ammoniac saltpetre. According to the company, it is the largest producer of ammonium nitrate as well as the second-largest producer of ammonia and nitrogen fertilisers in Russia.

“Dmitry Arkadievich Mazepin is thus involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine.

“On 24th February 2022, in the aftermath of the initial stages of Russian aggression against Ukraine, Dmitry Arkadievich Mazepin, along with other 36 businesspeople, met with President Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian government to discuss the impact of the course of action in the wake of Western sanctions.

“The fact that he was invited to attend this meeting shows that he is a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin and that he is supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine.

“It also shows that he is one of the leading businesspersons involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of Russia, which is responsible for annexation of Crimea and destabilisation of Ukraine.”

The developments came on a day when Nikita had earlier announced that he is setting up a foundation to support sportspersons who have been excluded from competitions following the invasion of Ukraine.

The foundation shall be known as ‘We Compete As One’, which is presumably an ironic reference to Formula 1’s own ‘We Race As One’ campaign.

“The decision from Haas was not based either on any directive from the sport’s governing body authority, or dictated by any sanctions that were placed against either me or my father, or his company,” he said prior to the announcement of the sanctions.

“And, of course, I don’t feel this is fair.

“But there is something more important here. I ask the question, is there no place at all for neutrality in sports?

“Does an athlete have a right not to just an opinion, but to keep the opinion out of the public space? Should an athlete be punished for that? And do we want the sports to become just another public square for protests and political debate?

“We all know cases where one country refuses to compete with another in the Olympics because of their political disagreements. We saw in the 1980s that a generation of athletes lost their dreams and the chance to compete at the highest level when countries started boycotting one another.

“Is this where we want the sports to be? Or are sports a way to bring people together, even at the toughest times, and especially at the toughest times. My experience in the last few days has greatly informed my thinking on these questions.”

According to Nikita, the foundation will provide financial and non-financial assistance to affected athletes.

“We all know that the career of an athlete is a short one, and that it requires years of intense sacrifice to perform at the highest level,” he explained.

“When that final reward is taken away, it is devastating. And no one is thinking what happens next to these athletes.

“I will be addressing this.”

The foundation would be funded by Uralkali monies initially earmarked for its Haas sponsorship.

How it will be run now that the Mazepins are subject to sanctions including freezes on economic resources remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Haas has announced the return of Kevin Magnussen in the seat from which Mazepin was ousted.

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