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The Financial Times: Ukrainian oligarchs have lost their influence on power
14 June, 15:20
The Financial Times: Ukrainian oligarchs have lost their influence on power
Photo: Соцсети
If a few years ago it was believed that Ukraine was ruled by several oligarchic clans, now the situation has changed radically.

How the fighting in Ukraine affects the domestic political life of this country, including the position of the once all-powerful Ukrainian oligarchs, is written by The Financial Times journalists.

Despite the fact that in 2014 it was the Ukrainian business elite that led the anti-Russian struggle, now its influence on politics has weakened, and business has been destroyed. The oligarchs in Ukraine have become more marginalized.

In 2014, when the ill-equipped Ukrainian army proved unprepared to confront Russia, it was the Ukrainian business elite who funded the volunteer battalions, and several oligarchs were appointed governors of unstable, separatist-prone Russian-speaking regions.

So, Igor Kolomoisky headed his native Dnipro region, which borders on the Donbass. Sergei Taruta was appointed governor of the Donetsk region. They used their authority, resources and media capabilities to mobilize the population against the pro-Russian separatist movement. Rinat Akhmetov, who previously supported Yanukovych's party, also sided with Kiev.

But over the past eight years, the Ukrainian army has grown significantly, and the Ukrainian oligarchs have begun to play a smaller role in the defense of the country: they mainly participate in crowdfunding - they donate money and materials, while they have already lost political levers of influence on state power. Their TV channels broadcast the government's position in line with the requirements of censorship, while the popularity and authority of President Zelensky, who passed anti-oligarchic laws last year, is growing.

Ukraine's richest industrialists, journalists say, are likely to find new business opportunities in the massive reconstruction effort in Ukraine, funded by hundreds of billions of dollars of Western aid.

Some of them are also expected to demand compensation from the government for plants and factories destroyed during the war. Akhmetov is already suing the Russian government for losses of up to $20 billion at two of his steel plants in Mariupol, including the destroyed Azovstal.

However, Western donors in return for financial assistance to the country are likely to insist on reforms and tougher measures to combat corruption, which could lead to an even greater reduction in the power of the country's business elite, analysts conclude.