How The War Affected The Country’s Richest People

January 6, 2023

Even before the onset of the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022, Ukraine has always had a pressing issue regarding oligarchs and absolute monopolies they built in the market.

It all began in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and the country declared its independence. Many state-owned companies found themselves in a precarious situation and were bought very cheaply by private individuals.

Through corruption, media, and connections to power, certain people gained enormous power and could influence the country directly.

Much has changed since the outbreak of the all-out war, and the pernicious domination of Ukraine’s richest people has been significantly reduced. Many attribute such changes to the pressure exerted by the current government, the huge losses suffered as a result of Russia’s attacks, and Ukrainian people who want to tolerate them no longer.

The fortune of Ukraine’s businessman Rinat Akhmetov was halved due to the occupation and destructive actions taken by the aggressor country. As early as 2022, it was around $11 billion, and now it equals no more than $5 billion. In 2014, when the Russian Federation supported separatists in Donbas, the coal magnate had to leave his home city Donetsk and move to Kyiv. Before these events his fortune reached $16 billion. It is important that, despite an extremely dangerous situation in his homeland, Rinat Akhmetov is staying in Ukraine, although he owns a luxury villa in France and an apartment in London. The businessman says that he does not consider himself an oligarch, but the biggest employer, investor and tax payer. He has not been directly involved in politics for a long time, although he was previously a member of the pro-Russian political party and supported the fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych. Despite all the criticism, Rinat Akhmetov has been providing huge support to his country in the most difficult times since February. The amount of assistance donated by the businessman has exceeded 100 million euros. The money was given out to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukrainian civilians affected by the war. He says he has no plans to stop helping his country.

Some time ago, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy began anti-oligarchic activities and introduced the corresponding law which was then adopted.

The President has deprived Ihor Kolomoiskyy, one of the most influential people in the country, of Ukrainian citizenship, because he had a passport of another country, which is illegal. Earlier, the TV channel owned by the oligarch gave huge support to the President before the 2019 elections. Kolomoiskyy denied all the allegations, and made no public comments.

Earlier this year, Vladimir Putin’s close friend and an oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk was arrested and his assets were frozen. He attempted to flee the country by wearing Ukrainian military uniform.

In late 2021, Zelensky claimed that Rinat Akhmetov was involved to participate in a coup d’état against the current government. The businessman called this statement absurd. Moreover, he considers the adopted law discriminatory. The day before the war, when representatives from the United States said that the invasion was imminent, Zelenskyy called on Rinat Akhmetov and many other top Ukrainian businessmen for support. Based on:

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