Russia: Russian oligarchs begin to raise their voices against the invasion of Ukraine | International

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Sitting more than a dozen meters away on the day the Ukraine invasion began, Vladimir Putin told Russia's top businessmen that he had no choice. Dismayed behind his masks — the Russian leader never wears one — the heads of the country's largest oil and gas companies and banks remained silent and made no criticism, if any, of the Kremlin's decision. Today, their companies are sunken on the stock market, the ruble is worth almost 17% less, their accounts are disconnected from the rest of the world, and Western sanctions weigh on most of them.

Little by little, some billionaires have begun to raise their voices, albeit with restraint. In everyone's memory is the fall of the opposition Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the owner of the Yukos oil company, who was tried for money laundering and was not released from prison until 2013, when he was pardoned by Putin.

The businessman who has been the strongest against the war so far has been the banker Oleg Tinkov (Polisayevo, 54 years old). “Innocent people are dying in Ukraine right now, every day. This is unacceptable! Has no sense! The government should spend the money on treating people medically, on researching how to beat cancer, and not on war. We are against the war!” The billionaire published on his personal Instagram account, where he accompanied his criticism with a photo with his partner, his children and his pet, an unthinkable picture now on the streets of Kiev and Kharkiv, to name a few. two besieged cities.

Doctors found that the banker had cancer in 2020. “I myself have almost gone to the other side twice. I've seen how fragile life is! And it is the only thing we have!”, he warned his compatriots. More than 110,000 people had "liked" his post a day later.

Russia's richest man, at least until before the war, has also been quite critical of the Kremlin venture. Alexei Mordashov (Cherepovets, 56), who according to Forbes He had a fortune valued at 29,100 million dollars in 2021 (26,100 million euros), urged to stop this bleeding.

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“It is terrible that Ukrainians and Russians are dying, that people are in hardship and the economy is collapsing. We have to do everything necessary to find a way out of this conflict in the near future and stop the bloodbath to help the affected people rebuild their lives," the owner of Severstal, one of the largest conglomerates in the world, told the RBK media outlet. world of steel, mining and energy. "I have nothing to do with the current geopolitical tensions, I don't understand why they sanction us," he added.

More restrained was Oleg Deripaska (Dzerzhinsk, 54 years old), owner of the aluminum giant Rusal and who was accused in 2017 of having acted as a mediator between the Kremlin and Donald Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Despite this, the US sanctions that weigh on his head are due to the alleged money laundering and extortion of other rival businessmen.

“Peace is much needed! Negotiations must start as soon as possible!”, he published on February 27 on his Telegram account, a simple, innocent phrase, but one that is very important if one takes into account that the war was started by the Kremlin in a crusade for “denazifying” her sister Ukraine.

The owner of the DIA and AlfaBank supermarkets Mijaíl Fridman (Lviv, 57 years old) did speak more clearly than, unlike the two previous billionaires, he was included in the list of sanctions of the European Union. The businessman was born in the western part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which is more Ukrainian-speaking. “But for most of my life I have been a citizen of Russia, building a business. I am deeply attached to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, and I consider the current conflict a tragedy for both of them,” he wrote in a letter to his employees to which he had access. Financial Times.

The invasion of Ukraine has not only upset the oligarchs close to the Kremlin. Several deputies of the Communist Party have complained that they voted for the recognition of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk without knowing that this would lead to war, and the representative of the Russian president before the UN on climate change, Anatoli Chubais, published An image of the murdered Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of Ukraine's anti-war protests beginning in 2014.

Likewise, some sons of the oligarchs have also shown their anger. Sofia Abramovich shared with her 41,000 Instagram followers a picture of her where “Russia wants war with Ukraine” was written, where the word “Russia” was crossed out with “Putin” written on it. "The Kremlin's biggest and most successful propaganda lie is that the majority of Russians support Putin," she wrote alongside the blacked-out photo of the president.

And those closest to Putin have also shown their disenchantment with the invasion. The ex-wife and the daughter of her spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, posted on Twitter on a black background the simple, but crystalline, “No to war”, although they quickly deleted it. This protest was also carried out on Facebook by Tatiana Yumasheva (Sverdlovsk, 62), the youngest daughter of Boris Yeltsin, the president who appointed Vladimir Putin as his successor.

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