Politician Leonid Volkov announced that he is leaving the post of chairman of the board of the ACF International fund (the international name for the Anti-Corruption Fund). According to him, this is due to a letter that he, without informing his colleagues from the FBK, sent to the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in 2022, which he himself calls “a big political mistake. The Insider quotes Volkov's post in full:
In October 2022, I signed and sent the following letter to the office of Josep Borrell. This letter was a big political mistake. Worse, by doing so, I overstepped my authority by signing it not in my personal capacity, but on behalf of the organization. I did not notify my colleagues, and, therefore, I framed them.
I had a feeling that the situation at that time (against the backdrop of the defeats of Putin’s army and discord in the Russian elites) was critical, and that it was possible, by creating a precedent, to start a chain reaction of public condemnations of the war and a split in the Russian elites. I made a mistake.
In this regard, I have decided to take a break from my public and political activities as Chairman of the Board of ACF International. Soon we will meet with colleagues and they will make decisions about how they see the possible formats of our joint work (and whether they see it). We will definitely inform everyone about the decisions made.
I want to apologize to everyone whose trust I did not justify - first of all, of course, from my colleagues in the governing bodies of the FBK, from supporters and, of course, from Alexei Navalny. It hurts to see how this whole story is used by Putin's friends of all stripes in order to try to trample on Navalny, who has been illegally in prison for more than two years, under torture conditions.
Let's not forget the main thing: for more than a year there has been a criminal and insane full-scale war that Putin unleashed, and there is no task in the whole world more important than putting an end to this war, and this can only be done by defeating Putin.
I ask you to respect my decision not to comment on this whole situation other than the one outlined above.
The day before, the letter in question was published on his Telegram channel by the former editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy, Alexei Venediktov, with the following remark:
“It all started on October 14th. Already there, in a letter to Borrell, Leonid Volkov supports the exclusion of Alfa from the sanctions list in exactly the same terms. I thank my colleagues from the EU for the document.”
Volkov's letter to Borrell reads, in part:
Separately, we should talk about sanctions against the so-called "oligarchs", big businessmen who are not part of the government. As far as we can see, it was they who became the biggest victims of the EU sanctions, and this seems unfair.
To illustrate the above, we are attaching to this letter a typical example of a case where the practical application of EU sanctions caused, in our opinion, the imposition of undue restrictions on business people of Russian origin who are not associated with the crimes of the Putin regime. The Alfa Group case, among other things, was what prompted us to write this letter and make proposals to improve the current European Union policy on sanctions against individuals.”