Agents of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia searched the Aeroflot office in Moscow after a former executive urged employees of the airline to sabotage Russian military actions in Ukraine.
During the search, which was performed on April 12, 2022, FSB agents raided the office of the country’s flag carrier Aeroflot and seized hard drives and documents of the marketing and strategy department, reported Russian media outlet Ura.
The move was taken after former deputy chief executive officer (CEO) of the airline, Andrei Panov, published an opinion column about Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine in the Financial Times, where it called on his former colleagues who currently stay in Russia 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,” Andrei Panov wrote in a statement published by the Financial Times. “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.”
The former deputy CEO of Aeroflot continued: “You can sabotage the war effort, by delaying or ignoring every deal or contract which supports the military invasion or Russian propaganda. 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.”
Immediately after the search, local police called employees of the marketing and strategy department of Aeroflot for questioning.
Andrei Panov took the Deputy General Director for Strategy and Alliances position and was responsible for the business strategy development of Aeroflot until March 2022, when he officially resigned from his duty and left Russia due to its war against Ukraine.