Russian flag carrier Aeroflot has had its offices searched by agents of the state’s security agency.
According to reports, the raid followed a call from a former executive at the airline for staff to sabotage the country’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
The Federal Security Service of Russia searched the airline’s Moscow headquarters on Tuesday 12th April and is reported to have seized documents from the marketing and strategy departments, along with computer hard drives.
“Sabotage the war effort”
The senior executive alleged to have urged the airline’s staff to undermine Russia’s military efforts is Andrei Panov, former deputy chief executive officer. In an article published in the Financial Times, Mr Panov discussed Russia’s ongoing occupation of some regions in Ukraine. He also called on employees in the country to “sabotage the war effort”.
“I want to tell every colleague, those with whom I worked, built projects, or negotiated deals, every senior Russian business person: I know why you are afraid to speak out against the war.”
“I was the same when I was still in Moscow. I know it is impossible to be a top executive and oppose the political regime, and I am not calling for martyrs or political prisoners. But you can retire, you can leave, and even if neither of these is possible, there are still things you can do.”
Mr Panov outlined that “delaying or ignoring” any deal or contract that supports the invasion, will go a long way to obstructing the war effort.
‘You can educate your subordinates and make clear to them you are against the war. You can ignore Z parades and refuse to send your staff to participate in them, and you can shout loudly about the economic disaster which grows with each new week of conflict.”
Following the search, employees of the marketing and strategy departments were called for questioning by local police.
Mr Panov, until March 2022, took the position of Deputy General Director for Strategy and Alliances. Upon Russia’s invasion, he resigned and left the country.
It is unknown whether any Russian staff based in Russia have received any form of punishment.
Will Andrei Panov’s call to staff have any impact? Let us know what you think in the comments below.