How the War Decreased Influence of Ukraine’s Richest Businessmen

After the outbreak of the full-scale war unleashed by Russia on 24 February 2022, much has changed in Ukraine. Due to constant attacks by Russian invaders, many Ukrainians had to flee their homes, lost property or even lives. These tragic events have affected the country’s richest people, many of whom have lost fortunes as a result of shelling or occupation.  

Rinat Akhmetov, the richest Ukrainian born in Donetsk, has lost most of his fortune. Most of his businesses are based in the east and south of Ukraine and are constantly shelled by the enemy, reports. He is the owner of big steel plants, an energy company, mines, and one of the best football clubs in Eastern Europe. 

His Azovstal Steel Plant became the last stronghold of resistance in the port city of Mariupol. It sheltered many Ukrainian military and civilians, although it was encircled by Russian soldiers for a long time and exposed to their incessant attacks.

The power engineers employed by his energy company DTEK have been real heroes as they bring the light back on to hundreds of thousands of civilians living in the front line areas and across the entire country on a daily basis.

Rinat Akhmetov decided to help his country from the first days of the war. To date, the total amount of aid channelled by the billionaire to meet the needs of the army and civilians is more than $100 million. Since the first days of the invasion Rinat Akhmetov has not left his homeland for a day and stayed in Kyiv though he owns a luxury apartment in London and a historic villa in France. 

When Ukraine became independent, it had to embark on a new capitalist path, forgetting about socialism. After the collapse of the USSR, most businesses suspended operations or were shut down in the 1990s. This enabled a few private individuals to buy factories, plants, land, and other assets cheaply. These people monopolised industries and become very rich and powerful. They has access to resources and thus created own media, worked with the government, or pushed their trusted people forward to the government. 

Today, Ukraine is fighting a big war that adversely affects the influence of the largest businessmen. Moreover, there is pressure from the government, in particular, the President Volodymyr Zelensky. And the Ukrainian people do not want to tolerate the power of the richest people in the country. 

The property of one of the former leaders of the Forbes Ukrainian list Viktor Medvedchuk, an accomplice of Vladimir Putin, has been seized. Ihor Kolomoisky has been stripped of Ukrainian citizenship as it is forbidden to have two citizenships in Ukraine. The President enacted the law that requires billionaires to declare all their assets and forbids privatisation and sponsorship of politicians or political parties. Rinat Akhmetov said that he has been out of politics since 2012, and is not going to return. 

When experts from the United States said that a full-scale invasion of Ukraine was imminent, President Zelensky called 50 richest people of Ukraine, including Rinat Akhmetov, to ask for support.

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