MOSCOW (Realist English). As Europe and the United States are strengthening the sanctions with regard to the foreign ownership of Russian businessmen, some of them stood up against Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, CNBC reports.
Mikhail Fridman, the founder of Alfa Bank and one of the richest men in the country, became the first businessman who opposed a military solution to the Ukrainian conflict.
In a letter to the employees of his investment company LetterOne, Fridman, whose parents still live in Lvov, is “convinced” that “war can never be the answer.”
“I am deeply attached to Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both. I do not make political statements, I am a businessman with responsibilities to my many thousands of employees in Russia and Ukraine. I am convinced however that war can never be the answer. This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations who have been brothers for hundreds of years.” – he wrote in a letter, the text of which is quoted by the Financial Times of London.
Friedman also owns the mobile operator Veon, which provides Internet services to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.
On February 28, the European Union imposed sanctions on Fridman, his business partner Pyotr Aven and the steel mogul Alexei Mordashov.
On March 1, Fridman called the ban on Russians doing business an unfair measure. In turn, Mordashov considers what is happening in Ukraine to be a “tragedy of the two fraternal peoples” that should be stopped: “I have absolutely nothing to do with the emergence of current geopolitical tension. I don’t understand why sanctions were imposed on us.”
Oleg Deripaska, against whom the United States also imposed sanctions, urged the parties to start negotiations as soon as possible.
His call was supported by Oleg Tinkov, the founder of Tinkoff Bank (who is currently undergoing cancer treatment), calling the conflict “unthinkable and unacceptable.” Tinkov believes that it is better for a state to spend money on cancer research, “and not on war.”
The owner of the Chelsea soccer club Roman Abramovich has not spoken publicly, but has handed over the management of the team to a charitable foundation. He also participated in negotiations in Belarus at the request of the Ukrainian side.
This casts doubt on the sincerity of the motives of those who speak out now, as they face the consequences of harsh sanctions.
The total losses of the super-rich Russian citizens are estimated at about $83 billion. However, the losses of the Russian economy as a result of sanctions did not affect the position of President Vladimir Putin on the Ukrainian issue.