No sympathy for crew of Russian Oligarch’s superyacht stranded in Norway

The superyacht of a Russian oligarch has become stranded in a Norwegian port after local oil suppliers continued to refuse to refuel it due to the owner’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, the owner of the 223-foot yacht Ragnar, is a former KGB agent and longtime Putin associate who made his fortune in nickel mining. According to The New York Times, he was also Russia’s deputy minister of economy.

Strzhalkovsky is not presently on the European Union’s list of oligarchs sanctioned as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but residents of the northern Norwegian port city of Narvik have said they are taking their own measures.

Norwegian politicians have called for the confiscation of the custom-built vessel, but a government official told NRK that such action is illegal without an E.U. directive. In the meantime, the yacht’s captain has lamented his predicament, insisting that the crew is “Western” and blameless in Russia’s war.

The stranding of the Ragnar coincides with the US government’s announcement on Wednesday of its own effort to “seize and freeze” the assets of Russian elites closely aligned with Putin. Strzhalkovsky’s name is not on the Treasury Department’s partial list of 50 individuals sanctioned by the United States and other countries.

The Ragnar flies the flag of the Yacht Club of Monaco, which describes it as “a superyacht unlike any other.” It has an icebreaker hull and is ready 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,” according to a 2020 feature article in the magazine Boat International.

Strzhalkovsky started receiving a $100 million golden parachute payout when he decided to step down as CEO of the Norilsk Nickel mining company after four years in 2012. The severance was the largest ever awarded in Russia at the moment.