A teen who ruffled the feathers of Elon Musk by tracking every single flight he made has now set his sights on Russian oligarchs, creating a new Twitter account that allows real-time tracking of every flight the richest Russian billionaires take. If his encounters with Musk are anything to go by, this teen will not bow easily to pressure, even when offered substantial amounts of money.
The account, called Russian Oligarch Jets, is run by 19-year-old Jack Sweeney and uses publicly available flight tracking data from ADS-B Exchange to notify followers whenever the oligarchs are on the move.
Likely feeling the sting of Western sanctions that have seized many of their assets, blocked Russian businesses from international trading, and prevented foreign banks from lending money to many Russian entities, the oligarchs have been on the move in jets and helicopters across the world despite many nations’ airspace being blocked to them.
Much of this movement is probably to prevent the seizure of expensive assets, including jets and yachts. The US is now "hunting" oligarch assets as part of the many sanctions it has imposed on Russia, even going as far as to create a taskforce to oversee the seizure of valuable assets.
Current oligarchs under surveillance include Vladimir Potanin, Norilsk Nikel, Roman Abramovich and seven others, all of which make up some of the richest Russian business executives alive. The tracker has already spotted Alexander Abromov’s jet moving from London back to Moscow, and Abramovich’s jet moving back to Moscow alongside.
Sweeney also runs another account dedicated solely to Putin and any VIP jets that Putin may use, though he explains that it may not be exactly accurate as ADS-B coverage is not always ideal in Russia.
It is unknown if the oligarchs know about the account, or if they care – after all, the data is public, Sweeney's accounts just make it easier for everyone to see.
That said, previous recipients of Sweeney’s scrutiny did not take to it kindly. Sweeney also runs an account called Elon Musk’s Jet, which tracks the world’s richest man’s jet as it travels around the planet. Started in June 2020, it once again used public data to display the movements of Musk, but the billionaire reached out to Sweeney and offered $5,000 to stop the tracking, citing it was a "security risk". Sweeney responded that he would stop doing it, but only if Musk offered $50,000 instead.
Clearly it wasn’t $50,000 worth of security risk, however, as the account is still posting regular updates.