A Russian oligarch’s superyacht is stranded in a Norwegian port after local oil suppliers refused to refuel it because of the owner’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, owner of the 223-foot yacht called Ragnar, is a former KGB agent and a longtime associate of Putin who made his millions in nickel mining. He also served as Russia’s deputy minister of economy, according to The New York Times.
Strzhalkovsky is not currently on the E.U.’s list of oligarchs sanctioned as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but locals in the northern Norway port city of Narvik said they’re taking their own measures.
“Why should we help them?” Sven Holmlund, an oil supplier, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “They can row home. Or use a sail.”
Norwegian politicians have urged confiscation of the custom-built vessel, but a government official told NRK the law prevents such action without an E.U. directive.
The yacht’s captain, meanwhile, has decried his predicament, insisting the crew is “Western” and blameless in Russia’s war.
The Ragnar’s stranding comes as the U.S government on Wednesday announced its own effort to “seize and freeze” the assets of Russian elites allied with Putin. The Treasury Department’s partial list of 50 individuals sanctioned by the U.S. and other jurisdictions does not include Strzhalkovsky’s name.
The Ragnar flies the flag of the Yacht Club of Monaco, which hails the vessel as “a superyacht like no other.” It features an icebreaker hull and is outfitted for polar exploration. Other amenities include a helideck, swimming pool, gym, “a BigBo amphibious ATV, heli-skiing equipment, four See-Doos, four ski scooters, six Seabobs, a multipurpose island and a giant slide,” the magazine Boat International reported in a 2020 feature article.
Strzhalkovsky reportedly received a golden parachute payout of $100 million in 2012 when he stepped down as CEO of the Norilsk Nickel mining company after four years. At the time, the severance was the largest ever awarded in Russia.