Espreso TV has rated the top five oligarchs who have ended up in Russia’s disfavor over recent events in Ukraine
Ihor Kolomoysky — for offending the Kremlin
Ihor Kolomoysky took first place in the rankings. Kolomoysky began the series of activities disliked by the northern neighbor as soon as he moved into the governor’s chair. At first he organized the hunt for the weapons and terrorists so cherished by Russia. He promised cash rewards: US $1,000 for a gun, US $ 1,500 for a machine gun, US $10,000 for each captured “green man.”
Then he created his own army, rapidly destroying the beginnings of separatism in the region, and began a battle with the pro-Russian militants in the Donbas. But the worst thing is that he attacked the holy of holies and publicly called Putin a short schizophrenic. “He is totally inadequate, completely crazy,” Kolomoysky said. “His messianism, the restoration of the Russian Empire of 1913 or the USSR of 1991 could bring the world to disaster.”
The Russian president, greatly offended, responded that “in Dnipropetrovsk, Mr. Kolomoysky was brought to power. He is the same cheat who even swindled our oligarch Abramovich.” Immediately a whole flock of Putin’s sheep started attacking Kolomoysky in unison. At first, on March 6, 2014, the Moscomprivatbank was placed under the temporary administration of the Central Bank of Russia, which is why Kolomoysky was forced to put his Moscow subsidiary on the market. Then Ermek Taychibekov, an entrepreneur from Kazakhstan, announced a reward of 1 million rubles for the removal or detention of Kolomoysky, carefully setting a May 1 deadline for the “hunt.”
The State Duma deputy Mikhail Markelov began to demand that Kolomoysky be excommunicated from Jewish religious organizations. Additionally, the deputy wrote a letter to Israel demanding that Kolomoysky be deprived of Israeli citizenship, have all his bank accounts frozen and his property seized. Even the relatively unknown “Cyber Berkut,” became interested in Kolomoysky and proceeded to announce various illegal schemes of his operations. Finally, the Russian mass media began to write about Kolomoysky with greater regularity than about Putin and Medvedev — usually some abomination.
Bachmatyuk’s failed “dinner”
The usually private agricultural magnate Oleh Bakhmatyuk unexpectedly made our ranking after he became the hero of the TV channel Russia 24. Russian journalists devoted several stories to his restaurant dinner with the Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko and presented it as a “Masonic conspiracy.” And in the same story, the Russians compared Bakhmatyuk to Kolomoysky and almost called him enemy No 2 themselves.
The authors of the story were especially interested in why the minister would dine with the billionaire. And they found the answer. According to Russia 24, Bakhmatyuk owes the Russian Sberbank US $600 million, but with the support of the Ministry of Justice is trying to avoid responsibility for the debt and is attempting to swindle the Russian bank. It should be noted that the remaining Sberbank debt is lower than the stated amount. Besides, just how Ukraine’s minister of justice would help avoid the debt payment is a mystery.
The proof of the conspiracy, according to the Russian journalists, is the fact that the meeting took place in one of the most expensive restaurants in Kyiv, without ties, and that the two supposedly ate lobster soup for the first course and tenderloin steak for the second. It should be noted that the dinner menu is not visible in the photo and is probably no more than the fruit of the vivid imagination of the story’s authors.
After hesitating for a long time between “light and darkness,” the richest man in the country, Rinat Akhmetov, finally took a position regarding the terrorists and the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).” He led the workers of his companies to a warning strike against separatism, which the people called “a horn blast,” since the demonstration began with the sound of horns at all Donbas enterprises “to support peace and avoid bloodshed.” He called the representatives of the DPR “a bunch of thugs who are terrorizing Donbas and who will be driven away soon.” Immediately the Russian media space exploded with a whole series of analytical articles about the shameful actions of the oligarch. And the leaderships of the DPR declared that it was nationalizing his businesses, beginning with Akhmetov’s residence in Donetsk.
Taruta’s and the DPR militants
The Donetsk governor Serhiy Taruta ended up on the “hit list” of the Russian Federation after he headed up the biggest pocket of separatism. His previous position as a sort of “Leopold the Cat” (Soviet animation series about a good-natured cat — Ed.), who tried to decide issues through negotiations did not impress the separatists or their Russian master. The DPR militants repeatedly trashed the offices of the ISD company, which used to belong to Taruta, and seized his hotel Victoria, where the oblast administration recently worked.
Furthermore, a portion of Serhiy Taruta’s assets were seized in Cyprus — and offshore, the football club “Metalurg” was frozen, where a number of shares of the Industrial Union of Donbas were invested. The pretext for these sanctions was the Russian VTB Bank, which still in 2008-2011 provided loans to TOV Construction Company (which started bankruptcy proceedings) for the general sum of US $ 203.2 million. Taruta himself did not borrow money from VTB, but was the loan guarantor for several loans totaling more than US $30 million. It is worth noting that the court in Cyprus took 4 days to review the claim and reach a decision. Experts believe this is a new development in Russian sanctions for disobedience.
Vadatursky on the hook
The director of NIBULON and Hero of Ukraine Oleksiy Vadatursky ended up under the watchful eye of the Kremlin after he, influenced by Kolomoysky, declared his readiness to pay monetary rewards for help in detaining collaborators, conspirators and pro-Russian separatists, who are attempting to violate the constitutional order and integrity of Ukraine. He also declared his intention to equip the “people’s militia” of Mykolayiv and equip the checkpoints at the entrances to the city. Furthermore, Vadatursky frankly expressed his opinion of Putin, calling him a liar. “We see how the head of the Russian Federation lies, publicly denying the presence of Russian troops in Crimea — on Ukraine’s sovereign territory. We can see how he lies to the citizens of Russia, how he lies to the entire world, and therefore to Ukrainians,” he said.
So far Vadatursky has not been “rewarded” with a suitable response but, as experience shows, this is only a matter of time.
By Olha Lukinova, Espreso TV, May 28, 2014
Translated by Anna Mostovych
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