The richest people in Ukraine are seeing their money and political power slip away as the nation’s war with Russia continues.
“For decades, Ukraine’s super-rich businessmen have wielded enormous economic and political power within their home country,” BBC said in a Monday report. “However, since the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s most infamous oligarchs have lost billions in revenue.”
Vast sums of money are not the only things many top Ukrainian oligarchs are losing, per the report. Their political power is diminishing as well.
“Absolutely [they are losing power],” Sevgil Musayeva, editor-in-chief of popular news website Ukrainska Pravda, reportedly said to the BBC. “This war is the beginning of the end for oligarchs in Ukraine.”
Rinat Akhmetov, who is reportedly one of Ukraine’s richest oligarchs, bid farewell to $9 billion of his $13.7 billion fortune since Russia invaded in February 2021. The BBC report claims that Akhmetov’s steel and coal industry holdings were struck to rubble as a consequence of the Russian onslaught.
Unfortunately for Akhmetov and many other Ukrainians, wealthy or otherwise, the carnage of the Russia-Ukraine war may not come to an end soon. One former U.S. Defense Intel Officer made an appearance on Fox News to argue that the war is “unwinnable” as the three parties to the war, Moscow, Kiev, and Washington, D.C., all have “unachievable goals.”
According to Newsmax, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a “de-oligarchization” bill in late 2021 that put oligarchs such as Akhmetov under more governmental scrutiny as it pertains to business transactions in addition to creating a ban on donating to political parties.
More recently, Zelenskyy signed a major media regulation bill earlier this week that gives the government the ability to send mandatory instructions to news outlets, issue fines to agencies, kick them off the web completely for a period of two weeks while skipping any type of court action, and even cancel the registration status of any print media in the country, according to EuroWeekly News.
Zelenskyy’s chief of staff adviser Serhiy Leshchenko indicated she believes the “de-oligarchization” policy marked one of the first major triggers of the oligarch’s demise, but that the war brings even more pressure as they are now compelled “to focus on survival rather than domestic politics.”
— Rep. Victoria Spartz (@RepSpartz) January 2, 2023