Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Sberbank Unimpressed by Navalny Credit Card

Navalny Denis Grishkin

A bank card designed to finance Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund was criticized Wednesday by state-owned Sberbank as the opposition leader revealed his biggest financial backers.

The list of 16 includes representatives of major Russian companies.

“It’s incomprehensible,” Sberbank deputy chairman Bella Zlatkis said when asked about the card, which will channel 1 percent of all transactions to Navalny’s coffers. “The technology is incomprehensible, and it’s incomprehensible what they have actually proposed.”

The financial institution that will issue the “Navalny card” will be revealed when the card becomes available in July as the latest accessory for opposition activists.

Although Zlatkis was aware that the idea was in development, she said there were questions about the “legality of the operations of the card.”

Sberbank has the biggest retail banking operation in Russia.

Navalny, who emerged from 15 days in jail last week, is building a base of financial support to bolster his anti-corruption work and political activities.

The lawyer and blogger told Vedomosti on Wednesday that the 16 top donors to his fund had already given 4.4 million rubles ($135,000) and promised another 4 million rubles in the second half of the year. The fund is hoping to raise at least $300,000 annually.

Among the business leaders who have contributed are Rosgosstrakh vice president Roman Borisovich; Alfa Group’s strategic planning director, Alexei Savchenko; billionaire Alexander Lebedev; and venture capitalist Sergei Filonov.

The fund is headed by Vladimir Ashurkov, a former executive at Alfa Bank who has said he was forced out of the company because of his political affiliations.

Despite a United Russia Duma deputy’s request to law enforcement authorities last week to check Navalny’s finances for evidence of money laundering, Zlatkis said the “Navalny card” is unlikely to be the target of political pressure.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more