Strictly speaking, both the National Security and Defense Council decisions and various patriotic statements and information "leaks" such as "Bigus tapes", apart from undoubted elements of political discrediting and economic restriction, play primarily the role of a "smokescreen". This should hide the essence of the issue: doing business with Russia is the privilege of Ukrainian oligarchs. That is why we often hear about some land transactions of Ukrainian high-ranking officials in Crimea, about real estate on the peninsula owned by the President's wife, or about the sale of the 95 Kvartal series in the Russian Federation, rather than about the multibillion-dollar turnover of Ukrainian oligarchs in foreign trade with "aggressor country".
Where is the patriotic approach here?
Over the past years, we have had to listen to a lot of shabby proposals on the topic of how Ukraine can cause significant damage to Russia through the sanctions regime. Now there are fewer such proposals, but from this they have not become more adequate or justified.
However, elementary statistics - export (Ukrainian) or import (Russian) - immediately show the Achilles heel of the Russian Federation in foreign trade with Ukraine. In 2018-2020, Russia received from Ukraine 83% of raw materials for titanium production, 51% of zirconium, and 70% of kaolin. All of these positions are critical for the Russian economy. Of course, Moscow has the opportunity to diversify its purchases, but a one-time shock would be quite serious.
We can recall a product that is not so critical for the Russian Federation - ferroalloys. Here, one of the sponsors of the election campaign of the incumbent President, Ihor Kolomoisky, is in Ukraine the monopoly owner of the entire production chain from ore mining (Ordzhonikidze and Marganetsky plants) to the production of alloys themselves (Nikopol and Zaporizhya ferroalloy plants). And no one is outraged that the group led by the unsinkable Kolomoisky only in the first two months of this year (according to the national State Statistics Service) earned almost $ 7.3 million over the curb from the sale of Ukrainian ferroalloys.
Rinat Akhmetov and his friends are above suspicion?
Ukrainian oligarch # 1 occupies one of the key positions in the Ukrainian energy sector and controls a number of Verkhovna Rada MPs. And this gives him carte blanche to conduct economic activities both in Russia and in the uncontrolled territories.
His company - the energy holding DTEK - in Russia owns Obukhivska Mine Management JSC (Rostov Region) and Donskoy Anthracite JSC (Rostov Region), which mine coking coal underground (the latter company also has a Russian subsidiary).
The fairly successful Donskoy Anthracite in 2020, according to official data, paid a total of 266 million rubles to the Russian budget taxes and fees ($ 3.7 million - at the average annual rate).
Long-term political and economic satellite of Rinat Akhmetov – Borys Kolesnikov, apparently decided to follow the patriotic path of Petro Poroshenko - to develop diabetes mellitus in the "aggressor country" by selling more and more lots of sweets. So, the Russian "twin" of the Ukrainian "KONTI" - JSC "KONTI-rus" (based on the Kursk confectionery factory) on May 28 of this year. bought the Ivanovo confectionery factory "Krasnaya Zarya."
But the authorities have no questions for Borys Kolesnikov – after all, he is now (as they say - with the energetic support of Akhmetov) creating a spoiler project in order to try in the southeast to take away votes from Medvedchuk's political force...
Whose is Crimea?
This question is often the last argument of marginal patriots, but, nevertheless, Rinat Akhmetov would undoubtedly have difficulty with an honest answer. After all, PJSC "DTEK Pavlogradvuhillia", which is part of the energy holding, has a branch in Crimea (Alushta).
Interesting is the date of registration of the branch: July 7, 2014 (Sapienti sat!).
However, it turned out absolutely by chance that Viktor Pinchuk did not always answer this question correctly. After the Arbitration Court in Crimea annexed by Russia on February 4, 2021 ordered Interpipe-Nyzhnedniprovsky Pipe-Rolling Plant to pay rent arrears for 1.8 hectares of land near Foros and give up the land plot, it turned out (in the text of the same decision) that March 18, 2014 (the date of the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by the Russian Federation) to April 10, 2015, Interpipe did not violate the terms of the lease agreement.
However, the authorities have no questions to Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Kolomoisky, Kolesnikov, and hundreds of other businessmen who earn tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in Russia. Therefore, against the background of this information, it becomes clear that the real reason for the authorities' attack on Viktor Medvedchuk is not his ties with Russia, but something else. And then what?
It turns out that political repression, where accusations of ties with the Russian Federation and Putin are just a screen?
We will talk in more detail about the Russian business epic of Mr. Pinchuk next time.
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