Newly-announced sanctions against Russian individuals include Ekaterina Vinokurova, who graduated from Columbia College in 2005.

Ekaterina Vinokurova, 2005 Columbia graduate and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, has been sanctioned by the US State Department.

Vinokurova graduated in 2005 with a BA in political science before getting her Masters at the London School of Economics. After graduating, Vinokurova worked at Christie’s, the British auction house, until 2015. Today, Vinokurova works as one of the founders of Smart Art, an art production and exhibition company that “invest[s] in Russia’s local art scene”.

In a press release, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote that the US was targeting the 2005 Columbia graduate as part of the economic sanctions levied against Russia and Russian officials for the invasion of Ukraine. Alumni and other Russian individuals under such sanctions will be cut off from the US banking system and any assets in the US. All the property and interests of the targeted Russians, including Vinokurova, will be blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In addition, no transactions either to or from Vinokurova in the US can go through without approval from OFAC.

Also targeted were Russian state banks, top Russian officials, and their families, including the daughters of President Vladimir Putin. The Department of the Treasury, responsible for implementing those sanctions, further clarified:

“Maria Aleksandrovna Lavrova (Lavrova) is Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s (Lavrov) wife. Yekaterina Sergeyevna Vinokurova (Vinokurova) is Lavrov’s daughter. Lavrova and Vinokurova are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being the spouse or adult child of Lavrov, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024.”

Despite many children of Russian politicians attending elite American or European schools, there is no love lost between the Russian political elite and New York, and Vinokurova has been at the center of such a fight before. In 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, Foreign Minister Lavrov moved Vinokurova back to Moscow from New York, prompting angry remarks from Yevgeny Fedorov, Deputy of the State Duma: “Now there is a division of elites. A decision is made as to whose side she is on. For interventionists, fascists, invaders, Americans or on the side of Russia and Putin?”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Vinokurova has made no public statements, but several European artists have resigned from her Smart Art projects scheduled for Venice. Raimundas Malašauskas, the curator of the Russian Pavilion for the 59th Venice Biennale, wrote, “I cannot advance on working on this project in light of Russia’s military invasion and bombing of Ukraine.” Vinokurova’s husband, Alexander Vinokurov, was also sanctioned by the EU on March 9, where they concluded “Vinokurov…is 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 destabilization of Ukraine.”

Columbia has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and offered support to students and scholars displaced by the war.

Treasury Seal via Wikimedia Commons