Arkady Volozh, the former head, co-founder and one of the principal shareholders of Yandex, the Russian search engine company rightfully referred to as the Russian Google, has recently revealed himself as the principal anti-war newsmaker in Russia.
Mr. Volozh has been trying to distance himself from the Kremlin and the war against Ukraine, similar to many Russian oligarchs and prominent entrepreneurs. But, unlike them, he speaks not only against the war but also against the Russian fake, and the perverted legend of why Russia is waging the war.
In addition to being a successful and well-known Russian business enterprise, Yandex, under Arkady Volozh, has been a traditional Kremlin agent for domestic and foreign affairs.
Yandex had people like Alexander Voloshin, the former Kremlin’s chief of staff, and representatives of the Western business elite like Charles Ryan, who has had many peculiar episodes in his career, including CEO of the Russian Deutsche Bank, as members of its board.
Are Yandex's servers stored in the Lubyanka?
Russian opposition representatives made jokes about Yandex’s servers and said they were stored in the Lubyanka building in Moscow, the main headquarters of the FSB - the Russian intelligence service.
Even though the servers were probably not in the Lubyanka, no one should doubt that information provided to Yandex by users was shared with Russian intelligence post factum or instantly.
Yandex was a humble servant of the regime. It was used for spying on Russian people domestically. It provided information on people using Yandex in the former USSR countries, helping the Kremlin to shape Yandex users’ false views of world affairs.
Yandex used Western board members such as John Boynton and Charles Ryan to further the Kremlin’s interests in the West and recruit/subvert those in the West whom the Kremlin had been targeting.
Credit for operations in the West
In support of Mr. Volozh, it is worth mentioning that every Russian businessman and entrepreneur, particularly those having ties with the West, were, in one way or another, the Kremlin’s agents and emissaries.
There was no exception, and the list of Kremlin’s agents among the Russian business elite is considerably longer than those exposed during Trump’s 2016 election or those sanctioned after Russia attacked Ukraine.
Therefore, Arkady Volozh is not a typical civilian from the Russian standpoint, but an active participant in Kremlin’s domestic and international operations.
His recent criticism of the war and Russian ideology in the Kremlin’s hallways could be easily be considered treasonable.
Yandex has been spreading Kremlin’s lies, distorting the truth and helping the Kremlin brainwash Russian people and those using Yandex throughout the world.
Therefore, Volozh’s démarche is super sensitive to Russia and, to a degree, could be compared to hypothetical TV star Solovev’s or Skabeyeva’s public revelation that they wilfully and knowingly lied to the Russian people about domestic affairs and the war in Ukraine because their pay check for spreading those lies had been enormous.
Should Russian clients in the West be worried?
Arkady Volozh could share information on how the Kremlin spread lies and used Yandex to spy on people around the globe and also share information on how the Kremlin used recruitment techniques targeting the Western political class and business elite.
This is why Volozh's decision to confront the Kremlin's lies and war agenda should be considered as a significant sign, particularly in light of the latest interview by Alisher Usmanov, a powerful oligarch from Russia, who recently complained about the unfairness of the collective guilt of Russian people.
While some oligarchs have been distancing themselves from Russia, Arkady Volozh openly challenged Russia and struck hard on Russia and its tsunami of lies regarding the Ukrainian war.
The fact that Arkady Volozh knows the dark secrets of Yandex and the Russian internet industry suggests that he could be a valuable ally for exposing the Kremlin's malicious activities in the West.
At one point soon, most, if not all, Russian oligarchs will no longer be safe in or outside Russia because the Kremlin will no longer be satisfied with their loyalty and conformism.
The Kremlin will need them to finance the war more generously and assemble or expand PMC’s, similar to Wagner.
The Kremlin will always ask for more
It is not a secret that Russia has many more companies similar to Wagner, sponsored by Russian oligarchs or companies like Gazprom.
At one point, the money that Russian oligarchs are willing to provide to the Kremlin will not be enough for the Kremlin.
Then the Kremlin will start suffocating Russian oligarchs, and they, in return, will begin reaching out to people like Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the wealthiest Russian at one point imprisoned by Putin from 2003 until 2013, now living in exile in London.
They might also try to reach people like Arkady Volozh, who some Russian oligarchs might find easier to understand and relate to than Khodorkovsky, who might have personal issues with some of the leading oligarchs in Russia who would have joined the anti-Putin camp but have a history with Khodorkovsky.
It is not a secret that many betrayed Khodorkovsky and even helped the Kremlin deprive Khodorkovsky of his assets.
People like Volozh, Khodorkovsky and the Russian oligarchs who now maintain a low profile pose a threat because they have enough money and influence to bring about change within the Kremlin.
Putin’s oligarchs played a significant role in advancing Kremlin’s agenda all over the world, including the USA, France, Germany, and even Africa and Mexico.
Is Mr. Volozh announcing that it is time for Putin's former power, embodied in the oligarchs, to turn against him?