At the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, there was an informal agreement between the Office of the President and the businessman that Akhmetov would help the state, but it would not touch him. This is stated in the Forbes material about how Russian aggression has changed the strategy of the richest Ukrainian.
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Akhmetov agreed with the OP on non-aggression: Key facts
- Four Forbes interlocutors in the OP, law enforcement agencies and BP said that there is such an informal agreement between Zelensky’s Office and Akhmetov that the state will not touch the businessman’s assets during the war.
- The war forced Akhmetov and the president to put aside their feud. Zelensky appreciates that the businessman has not left the country and willingly helps the Armed Forces of Ukraine, says the source in the OP. According to him, Akhmetov is in direct contact with the president, most issues are resolved by phone. “Akhmetov was one of the first to offer Zelensky help, says a source from the President’s Office. The President appreciates it.“.
- Rinat Akhmetov himself commented to Forbes on relations with the authorities in his own style: “There has never been a confrontation on my part. This is not my policy. And since the 24th, the president and I have been looking in the same direction, the direction of our victory.”
- According to political scientist Vladimir Fesenko, Zelensky needs Akhmetov and the involvement of his enterprises in the war. And the billionaire needs the loyalty of the president. “His political influence is now at its lowest in 10 years. No media, no deputies, – says political scientist Nikolai Davidyuk. — Unless the loyal Prime Minister and Minister of Energy. But the executive power is always forced to reckon with it. Value oblige“.
- On the eve of the invasion, relations between Akhmetov and Zelensky were very tense. The President even stated that the businessman involve in a coup. For several months before the war, he was mostly outside of Ukraine. On February 14, Zelensky called on businessmen and politicians to return from abroad. On February 15, Akhmetov was in Ukraine, and on the 16th he arrived in Mariupol. In Forbes’ replies, the businessman said he arrived in Mariupol on the expected day of the invasion.
The war cost Akhmetov as much as the other members of the top ten Forbes list combined – $ 9.3 billion. In early February, Forbes estimated Akhmetov’s fortune at $ 13.7 billion, now – $ 4.4 billion. The Russians destroyed the key factories of Metinvest , systematically destroy DTEK substations, almost 80% of HarvEast’s land was occupied. Akhmetov closed their media, and only a memory remained of the influence on the Rada.
True, Akhmetov’s neighbors on the Forbes list feel even worse. Igor Kolomoisky lost his citizenship, and his fuel business came under state control, Konstantin Zhevago was detained in France and they are trying to extradite him to Ukraine, AvtoKrAZ was nationalized, investigators are not leaving Arterium and Poltava GOK.