The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is costing the richest men in Ukraine their wealth and political power, according to reports on BBC News.
“For decades, Ukraine’s super-rich businessmen have wielded enormous economic and political power within their home country,” the report stated. “However, since the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s most infamous oligarchs have lost billions in revenue.”
The report focused on five of the country’s wealthiest oligarchs and how they have lost billions since the war began in February. Ukraine’s richest man, 56-year-old Rinat Akhmetov, lost around $9 billion of his $13.7 billion fortune since the war started.
Other oligarchs on the list include Viktor Pinchuk, who was dealt a $600 million loss; Ihor Kolomoisky, with an $800 million loss; Petro Poroshenko, whose losses amount to $900 million; and Vadym Novynsky, who took a $2.2 billion loss.
Akhmetov’s $9 billion means he has lost more wealth than the other four men, whose combined losses stand at $4.5 billion.
Adding to the oligarchs’ misery is the fact that they are not only losing their fortunes, but they are also losing their political power.
“Absolutely [they are losing power],” Sevgil Musayeva, editor-in-chief of popular news website Ukrainska Pravda, told the BBC. “This war is the beginning of the end for oligarchs in Ukraine.”
Russia's war drains Ukraine's rich list of power https://t.co/PQJ8IlvTbg
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) January 3, 2023
However, the war is not the only thing costing the Oligarchs their power. The oligarchs’ declining political influence began in 2021 when Ukraine passed the de-oligarchization law.
The new law banned oligarchs from donating to political parties and imposed extra-governmental checks on their business transactions.
The law defined oligarchs as those who hold influence over the media or politics, own a monopoly, and make millions of dollars yearly.
Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to President Zelensky’s chief-of-staff and formerly one of Ukraine’s most prominent investigative journalists, said the de-oligarchization law was one of the first significant triggers of the oligarchs’ demise.
“But as the war escalated, it made the oligarchs’ life even more difficult,” said Leshchenko. “They have been forced to focus on survival rather than domestic politics.”