The European Union (EU) is gearing up to launch a fresh set of sanctions that includes a provision allowing the sale of assets frozen due to sanctions, with the proceeds also under the same restrictions. This innovative measure has been inspired by the ongoing situation with Helsinki Halli, a Finnish ice stadium that has been rendered inactive due to the freezing of assets owned by Russian businessmen, Gennadiy Timchenko and the Rotenberg brothers, Arkadiy and Boris, in the spring of 2022.
Sanctions and The Helsinki Halli Conundrum
Controlled by Arena Events Oy and owned by Helsinki Halli Oy, the stadium has been incapable of hosting events because payments would infringe upon the sanctions. The Finnish Constitution does permit the expropriation of assets for the public good, provided it is supported by government resolution. However, the country has no precedent for such action. Finnish authorities, weary of waiting for the sanctioned owners to sell their shares, are contemplating expropriating the stadium. The city of Helsinki is losing out on approximately 100 million euros annually due to the stadium's inactivity.
Implications of the New Sanction Package
The introduction of this new sanction package by the EU could resolve the Helsinki Halli situation. If the stadium is nationalized and sold, the city of Helsinki would be the first potential buyer. This unprecedented move could set a global example for dealing with assets frozen due to sanctions. It could also provide a legal mechanism for countries to regain control over idle assets, turning them into productive, revenue-generating entities once again.
'Signal' - A Beacon in the Digital Age
In the midst of these geopolitical developments, 'Signal,' an email newsletter by the creators of 'Meduza,' continues to be available as long as there is internet in Russia. While the specifics of this digital initiative are not elaborated on, its mention amidst the unfolding events underscores the potential of digital platforms in maintaining communication and information flow, even in the face of international sanctions and conflicts.