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What high-powered Russian businessmen state and do amid war in Ukraine

Oleg Deripaska and Roman Abramovich

Oleg Deripaska and Roman Abramovich

On February 27, Mikhail Fridman, the largest shareholder of the investment company LetterOne, addressed the employees of his company with a letter where he explained that he was born and lived until the age of 17 in Ukraine and perceives what is happening "as a tragedy." "I am convinced that war can never be the solution. The cost of this crisis will be lives and damage to both nations that have been fraternal for hundreds of years," the letter says.

After the sanctions against him were imposed, Fridman left the Board of Directors of the telecommunications holding VEON (that includes Kyivstar), as well as the Board of Directors of Alfa-Bank.

LetterOne co-owners Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, who were sanctioned, will not manage the company and receive dividends, but will keep their shares. To get the company out of the blow, the billionaires sold part of their shares to partners..

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Alexey Kuzmichev, another co-owner of LetterOne, told Forbes that he fully agrees with Fridman's position, shares it and supports it. "My position is even tougher. My mother was Ukrainian, I have a lot of relatives and friends there. But I am not going to make any political statements," he said.

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"Peace is very important! Negotiations need to start as soon as possible!" Oleg Deripaska wrote on February 27 on his Telegram channel.

In a post on February 28, he continued: "Since this is a real crisis, we need real crisis managers and not fiction writers with a bunch of presentations. Now, as in 2014, it will not be possible to sit this one out. It is necessary to change the economic policy, it is necessary to end all this state capitalism."

On March 3, Deripaska stated that a severe crisis awaits Russia for at least the next three years. "Multiply the crisis of 1998 by three," he said, speaking at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum. "We have never faced such a challenge before. People ask: will the iron curtain fall or not? It's already fallen, that's a fact."

Deripaska also commented on the nuclear threat: "Ukraine has long been a nuclear power, on its territory, in addition to the mothballed Chernobyl NPP, there are 15 more nuclear power units and 3 storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel. For those slow-witted: our descendants on the territory of European Russia, Ukraine, and Europe will hold us to any incident at these facilities! For another 200 years with curses.

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"Just yesterday it seemed to me that it would be tough political fuss, pressure, etc., but today I understand that the point of no return has been passed, and this will be a big story that will affect the lives of millions of people. It is sad," billionaire Igor Rybakov commented on the current situation on February 25 on his YouTube channel.

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Billionaire Roman Abramovich, according to unofficial information, is involved in organizing the current negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. He had previously handed over the management of his Chelsea Football Club to trustees of a charitable foundation. Bloomberg reported on February 25 that a group of U.S. investors plans to buy a controlling stake in the club from Abramovich. He expects to sell it for $4 billion, sources told Reuters. According to them, the billionaire is in no hurry with the deal, despite the threat of sanctions.

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The founder of TCS Group Oleg Tinkov, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, spoke about the situation around Ukraine. He said that during his illness he had the opportunity to see how fragile human life is and called for an end to the war: "Innocent people are dying in Ukraine every day, this is unthinkable and unacceptable! States should spend money on treating people, on research to defeat cancer, and not on war."

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The richest Russian, co-owner of Severstal, Alexei Mordashov, considers what is happening in Ukraine to be a "tragedy of two fraternal peoples" and does not understand why the European Union imposed sanctions against him. Even before he was sanctioned, he had transferred a stake in the Nordgold gold mining company to his wife. The cost of this stake is estimated at $1.1 billion.

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The founder of USM, Alisher Usmanov, has suspended his activities as president of the International Fencing Federation. According to the billionaire, he will return back only after "justice is restored." "On February 28, I became the target of sanctions imposed by the EU. I believe in the unfairness of this decision, the grounds for sanctions are fabricated and unfounded accusations that offend my honor, honesty, and business reputation," Usmanov stated.

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Yandex Managing Director Tigran Khudaverdyan responded on his Facebook page to calls to take a stand on the situation in Ukraine. He called what is happening there "unbearable", but emphasized that he considers the most important thing for the company to ensure the safety of employees and keep the services of the IT company working. "Due to these reasons, we cannot climb on the armored car," the head of the company stated.

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Billionaire from the Forbes list Viktor Rashnikov transferred the ownership of part of his assets from a Cypriot company to a Russian one. The transaction was carried out "taking into account the decrease in the attractiveness of Cyprus" and "circumstances that arose last week," the company reported.

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The Board of Directors of Lukoil, Russia's largest private oil company, called for "an early end to the armed conflict" in Ukraine. This is stated in the appeal published on the company's website. It also expresses "deepest sympathy to all those affected by this tragedy."

Recall that on February 24 at 04:50 Russian President Vladimir Putin actually declared war on Ukraine, and Russian troops began to invade the territory of our country. The Page follows the situation and regularly informs about the most important events.


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