What influence do the richest businessmen have during the war

It has not been easy for Ukraine to become a true democracy from the very beginning of its independence, even though it is relatively rich with great potential. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, it was necessary to become a new capitalist country. Because of socialism in the Soviet Union, there was no traditional business there. All industrial and agricultural industries were owned by the Government. During the 1990s, most of the enterprises worked at a reduced capacity or were stalled, which resulted in unemployment and banditry. In such circumstances, all factories, power plants, and so on were very cheap. This attracted a number of individuals who began to privatize a huge number of facilities, monopolizing  different markets. This small group of the richest people had great influence, and had the opportunity to have their own TV channels, promote their people to government or become politicians themselves.

Rinat Akhmetov is still the richest man in Ukraine. He owns the largest steel plants, a large energy company DTEK, TV channels, one of the best football clubs in Eastern Europe and much more. After the start of the full-scale war waged by Russia where Ukrainians defend their country with all their strength, the billionaire chose to support his country.

In 2014, Akhmetov was forced to leave his home in Donetsk and move to the capital of Kyiv. This was due to the invasion of Russian military groups that occupied part of the Donbas, together with local militia.

Before the formation of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic and the annexation of Crimea, the businessman’s fortune was $16 billion.

At a time when Eastern and Southern Ukraine are constantly shelled by Russian military terrorists, Rinat Akhmetov suffers huge losses. Many of its enterprises are now occupied or simply destroyed. Now his fortune makes about $5 billion. Despite this, all his enterprises are now working to help bring Ukraine’s victory closer, producing an incredible number of things needed for the Ukrainian military. DTEK power engineers heroically do everything to bring electricity back on to people in the front-line areas. The total sum of assistance to the military and war-affected civilians from Rinat Akhmetov amounted to more than $100 million, and the businessman is not going to stop there. Many say that he does this solely to improve his reputation and that it is not enough, though his help is tremendous.

The war forced all those on the Ukrainian Forbes list to suffer huge losses, losing their previous influence. Ukraine’s richest people have recently had really great power. Russian billionaires have never had such power; they are the purse of Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime.

Now Ukraine has a better chance of becoming a more democratic country, and the influence of businessmen may diminish significantly after the war ends. The incumbent government also exerts great pressure on the richest Ukrainians. All of Viktor Medvedchuk’s property was frozen and he himself was arrested when he tried to escape from Ukraine in the uniform of a Ukrainian soldier as the invasion started. He is a close friend of Putin and has a pro-Russian stance. Ihor Kolomoisky was deprived of a Ukrainian passport due to illegal dual citizenship.

We remind that on the evening before the large-scale military hostilities started, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky called on 50 richest representatives of the country to provide support in the upcoming battle. Among them was Rinat Akhmetov.


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