August 15, 2023

"I Am Horrified"


"I Am Horrified"
Vladimir Putin and Arkady Volozh in the Moscow office of Yandex, 2017. Russian Presidential Press and Information Office, Wikimedia Commons.

Arkady Volozh, the founder and former CEO of renowned Russian tech company Yandex, recently issued a statement condemning Russia’s War on Ukraine. In it, the businessman acknowledged his own share of responsibility for the unfolding events and decried the incursion into Ukraine as a "barbaric invasion."

"I am horrified that bombs are being dropped on Ukrainian homes every day," Volozh said.

The businessman reminisced about his initial vision for Yandex, which was rooted in an aspirational, open, and progressive Russia. However, as time passed, he came to realize that his vision of a globally engaged country was not materializing.

Volozh has been living in Israel since 2014 and was involved in international Yandex projects. Since the start of the war, the entrepreneur found himself subjected to European sanctions, stepped down from all his positions at Yandex, was engaged in disagreements with Yandex’s leadership regarding the war, and saw his family trust teeter on the brink of exchanging a controlling stake in the company for the prospect of advancing select international projects.

According to The Bell, there were internal deliberations within Yandex about whether Volozh should publicly voice his concerns about the war. On the one hand, such a statement could potentially mitigate the risk of sanctions, but on the other, it could lead to nationalization of the company and retribution against its leadership.

The publication of Volozh’s anti-war statement followed a controversy surrounding his personal website, where he was presented as an "Israeli businessman born in Kazakhstan." Russia was only mentioned in relation to his first business endeavor, CompTek, a software distribution company he founded in the late 1980s. Another noteworthy development was an article by the independent Russian media Meduza, revealing that the FSB might soon gain access to data regarding the global movements of Yandex Taxi service customers, spanning countries like Finland, Israel, Armenia, and Georgia.

Volozh has become the second major Russian businessperson, after Oleg Tinkov, to unequivocally condemn Russia’s invasion. All other "players" have been far more cautious about voicing their opinions on the war. In particular, Alisher Usmanov said that he feels close to all the victims of the war in Ukraine and hopes for diplomacy; Mikhail Fridman stated that war cannot be a solution; and Oleg Deripaska, who is involved in recruiting Russian soldiers, said that it is necessary to start negotiations between the countries as soon as possible.

You Might Also Like

One Podcast to Rule Them All
  • August 12, 2023

One Podcast to Rule Them All

Economist journalist Arkady Ostrovsky has created what is easily the most compelling and valuable podcast on Russia.
Frozen Fortunes
  • June 23, 2023

Frozen Fortunes

And oligarch wants to donate funds to the victims of the war on both sides.
Facts and Figures
  • May 29, 2023

Facts and Figures

Another statistical look at the impact of Russia's War on Ukraine.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
Tolstoy Bilingual

Tolstoy Bilingual

This compact, yet surprisingly broad look at the life and work of Tolstoy spans from one of his earliest stories to one of his last, looking at works that made him famous and others that made him notorious. 
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955