#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Kiev, are the oligarchs sponsoring the war?


A few days ago, the names of the financiers of the war in Ukraine appeared on the social sphere: the Ukrainian oligarchs. These are said to be behind the financing of the Kiev regime for the continuation of the war. Most of these financiers have properties in Russia, in the DNR, the LNR and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

Indeed, following the flow of news:we learn that: on six June, Volodymyr Rogov, a member of the main council of the military and civil administration of the Russian occupation region on TV said: the properties of the Ukrainian oligarchs, including Kolomoyskyi, Akhmetov and Pinchuk, in the Zaporizhzhya region should be nationalised. Rogov explained that it would be unreasonable to fulfil obligations to the owners of the companies financing Ukrainian nationalists.

And even earlier on 17 March, Crimean deputy Mikhail Shereme said: ‘Ukrainian oligarchs who oppose our country, finance nationalist groups and support Zelensky’s criminal regime should not have property in Russia (…) This property should be confiscated and sold. The proceeds can be used to rebuild the Donbass’.

But who are Kiev’s biggest supporters in this war? According to the social sphere they would be:

in first place a well-known name, now also in the Italian news, owner of Azvostal among others, Rinat Akhmetov, owner of the SCM group. Akhmetov owns London’s most expensive penthouse at One Hyde Park, which was originally bought for £213 million as a portfolio investment and spent a further £120 million to fix it up. Information about the deal was not disclosed until four years later, in April 2011, after its assets showed a steady annual increase. In May 2013, ownership was transferred from his company, SCM, to himself. His ‘military commitment’ would be UAH 2400 millions.

In second place; Victor Mykhailovych Pinchuk is a Ukrainian businessman and politician, oligarch and founder of EastOne Group LLC, an international investment, project finance and financial advisory company based in London, and Interpipe Group, one of Ukraine’s leading manufacturers of pipes, wheels and steel, Forbes ranked him as 1,250th on the list of the world’s richest people, with a fortune of $1.44 billion, war commitment of UAH 750 millions.

In third place Yuriy Anatoliyovych Kosiuk is a Ukrainian billionaire and CEO of the country’s largest agricultural company MHP, chicken farming sector, Forbes listed his fortune with $1.1 billion. Kosiuk pays himself handsomely through dividends and has used the cash to buy aeroplanes, a yacht and several luxury cars. He contributed UAH 600 millions.

In fourth place, Vadym Rudol’fovyč Malchasjan, better known as Vadym Vladyslavovyč Novyns’kyj, is a Russian entrepreneur and politician with Ukrainian citizenship of Armenian origin, With partner and fellow billionaire, Andrei Klyamko Novynskyi owns the Smart Holding Group of Ukraine. In 2006 they merged their Ukrainian metal companies into Smart Holding Group. In 2007 they exchanged them for a stake in Metinvest. Smart Holding Group holds a 23.75 per cent stake in iron ore producer Metinvest. Smart Holding also owns large assets in oil and gas, shipbuilding, development, agriculture and its parent companies Unex Bank and BM Bank. Its revenues in 2011 were USD 14.2 billions.

Fifth place for Galina and Alexander Gerega owners of Epicenter K, in 2010 they opened the largest brico and deko shop in the presence of then president Yanukovych, contribution of UAH 300m;

Sixth, Dmytro Vasyl’ovyč Firtaš is a Ukrainian entrepreneur, heads the board of directors of the DF Group. He was very influential during the Yuschenko administration and the Yanukovych administration. As an intermediary for the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom and with connections to the Kremlin, Firtaš channelled money into the campaigns of pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Firtaš obtained his position with the agreement of Russian President Vladimir Putin and, according to some, Russian organised crime boss Semion Mogilevich; contribution UAH 600 millions.

In seventh place, Petro Porošenko is a Ukrainian businessman and politician who was the fifth president of Ukraine from 2014 to 2019. Poroshenko’s domestic policies promoted the Ukrainian language, nationalism, inclusive capitalism, decommunisation and administrative decentralisation. In 2018, Poroshenko helped create the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, separating the Ukrainian churches from the Moscow Patriarchate. His presidency has been distilled into a three-word slogan, employed by both supporters and opponents: ‘armiia, mova, vira’ (i.e.: army, language, faith). Currently on trial for treason on charges of financing Donbass separatists in 2014 – 2015, co-owner of Roshen, foodstuffs sector. Contribution 300 millions UAH.

In eighth place Kostyantyn Valentynovych Zhevago, assets $1.4 billion. Zhevago owns a majority stake in the London-listed mining company Ferrexpo. Ferrexpo established a $7.5 million humanitarian fund on 7 March to provide housing, free meals, childcare and medical supplies, among other services. Zhevago, was a member of the Ukrainian parliament from 1998 to 2019, resigned as CEO of the company at the end of 2019 amid an investigation by the Ukrainian state prosecutor’s office..He is wanted for questioning over alleged money laundering and embezzlement at his former bank, Finance & Credit, which went bankrupt in 2015. Contribution of UAH 200 million.

In ninth place Vadim Stolar politician, owner of LIVE Network, assets $175 million, among the 100 richest men in Ukraine, contribution UAH 110 millions.

Tenth place for Serhiy Tigipko, politician, owner of the TAS Group. TAS Group, founded in 1998, is one of the largest and fastest growing financial and industrial groups in Ukraine. Between 2002 and 2004, he also headed the Central Bank of Ukraine and is the main shareholder of JSC TASCOMBANK. Contribution 100 million UAH;

Eleventh place Vitaly Antonov, besides being the owner of the OKKO group, petrol stations fuel sector, Antonov is the head of the supervisory board of Galnaftogaz (OKKO petrol station network), chairman of Universalna Investment Group, one of the founders and head of the supervisory board of the Economic Security Fund of Ukraine, a participant in the public project Business 100. He is Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania in Lviv. In 2013, he entered the 100 most influential people in the country for the first time, according to Correspondent magazine, achieving 66th place in this list. In 2020 Antonov entered the annual ranking of FOCUS magazine, named as one of the best managers in Ukraine in the retail segment. On 1 November 2018, Russian sanctions were imposed against 322 Ukrainian citizens, including Antonov. On 21 August 2018, on the premises of the Lviv and Kiev offices of the PJSC Concern Galnaftogaz (OKKO petrol station network), agents of the Security Service of Ukraine conducted searches with the seizure of documents and equipment. According to Antonov, he and his company are ‘accused of financing actions undertaken to overthrow the constitutional order and change the state borders of Ukraine’, including financing separatism in eastern Ukraine. Charges filed the same year. His contribution would be UAH 50 millions.

12th place with a contribution of UAH 40 million, Evgeny Chernyak is a businessman, with the 19th place in the Forbes Ukraine TOP-100 ranking, head of the supervisory board of the Global Spirits holding company, the largest spirits holding company in Eastern Europe, owner of the Khortytsia brand.

Graziella Giangiulio