A California-based Russian businessman has offered $1 million for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine.
“I promise to pay $1,000,000 to the officer(s) who, complying with their constitutional duty, arrest(s) Putin as a war criminal under Russian and international laws,” Alex Konanykhin vowed Tuesday on social media.
The San Francisco investor — who appears alongside Lance Bass and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on Amazon Prime’s “Unicorn Hunters” — initially posted a poster saying, “Wanted: Dead or alive. Vladimir Putin for mass murder.”
After that image was removed by Facebook, Konanykhin insisted he had never meant to pay for Putin’s assassination.
“While such an outcome would be cheered by millions of people around the world, I believe that Putin must be brought to justice,” he wrote in an update.
In his initial post, Konanykhin claimed that “Putin is not the Russian president as he came to power as the result of a special operation of blowing up apartment buildings in Russia, then violated the Constitution by eliminating free elections and murdering his opponents.”
“As an ethnic Russian and a Russia citizen, I see it as my moral duty to facilitate the denazification of Russia,” he wrote, referring to the term Putin himself used to justify the Russian military’s assault on Ukraine.
“I will continue my assistance to Ukraine in its heroic efforts to withstand the onslaught of Putin’s Orda,” he said, using the Russian term for “horde.”
Konanykhin told Insider that he had offered his own money to prove that the war is not supported by many Russians.
“If enough other people make similar statements, it may increase the chances of Putin getting arrested and brought to justice,” he told the outlet.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly accused Putin of war crimes, a charge the International Criminal Court is officially investigating.
Konanykhin — who was once worth at least $300 million, according to Vice — has not been to Russia since he fled the country in 1992, he told Insider. He also insisted he did not fear reprisal from Putin loyalists.
“Putin is known to murder his opponents,” Konanykhin told the outlet. “He has millions of them now.”
In his bio on “Unicorn Hunters,” which he co-created and executive produces, Konanykhin is hailed as a “visionary international entrepreneur and best-selling author.”
“His formidable entrepreneurial journey began in his mid-twenties when he created the largest bank in post-communist Russia before defecting to the United States,” the bio said.
After leaving Russia, Konanykhin set up a web advertising company in New York after being granted asylum in 1999 — only to serve jail time and almost get deported after it was revoked in 2003, the Washington Post noted at the time. It was eventually reinstated in 2007.
Konanykhin detailed his defection in his book, “Defiance: How to Succeed in Business Despite Being Hounded by the FBI, the KGB, the INS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, Interpol and Mafia Hit Men.” He also co-founded a tech company that is now valued at more than $2.4 billion, according to his TV show bio.