I’m very interested in an analysis of Ukraine’s oligarch’s in this crisis. Here’s a glimpse:
“Putin offered an intimate glimpse into the highly personal power politics playing out among the relatively tiny and tightly interconnected group of oligarchs—all men of a similar generation—who together control vast swaths of the post-Soviet economies. Putin called out one, `monsieur` Ihor Kolomoyskyi—either the second or third richest man in Ukraine and the newly appointed governor of Dnepropetrovsk, the country’s industrial hub—by name. “This man is a unique opportunist,” Putin remonstrated.
Kolomoyskyi is not unique, but he is a figure of collosal wealth and importance in Ukraine’s industrial behemoth of Dnepropetrovsk. Along with his friend and fellow oligarch Vadim Rabinovich, Kolomoyskyi also founded the successful Jewish News One TV station. He has also helped fund and recently inaugurated the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish cultural center, the biggest in the world. In a press conference that Kolomoyskyi held four days ago upon being appointed governor, he admitted that he had been put into place as part of a campaign of “expanding government outside of the purview of traditional politicians.” He also acknowledged that part of his job as the newly appointed governor of Dnepropetrovsk was to “tamp down separatism,” and spoke out against a century of Russian-driven partition of the land. Many Ukrainians assume that he had taken up the position mostly to protect his myriad business interests from being expropriated by the new regime.
Putin, however, had his own axe to grind against Kolomoyskyi on behalf of his friend Roman Abramovich, one of Russia’s wealthiest men. “He even conned our own Abramovich,” Putin asserted. Alternating legalese with tough guy slang, he explained Abramovich had transferred Kolomoyskui millions for a contract several years ago, and Kolomoyskyi other did not finish the job but pocketed the money. “I myself asked Abramovich why he did it later, and he told me he did not think it possible that someone would play him like that,” Putin explained. “This is a real life story. And that is the sort of bounder they wish to make governor!” The point to this brackish bit of business gossip, to put it as crudely as Putin did, was that the Ukrainian Jewish oligarch Kolomoyskyi out-Jewed Russia’s own top Jewish oligarch, Abramovich.
Putin then transitioned his rhetoric smoothly back to the “masked and unidentified armed groups of anti-Semites” running around Kiev with machine guns. Any resemblance to masked and unidentified armed men running around the Crimea with machine guns went unmentioned.