Rinat Akhmetov's choice
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 18:28

FOR weeks he played all sides and avoided throwing his clout in any one direction in eastern Ukraine’s simmering conflict. Now Rinat Akhmetov (pictured), the country's richest man, who has long run the Donbass region like his own feudal estate, has made his choice. On May 19th he released a video in which he criticised the separatist leaders of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic”. They have only sown chaos, according to Mr Akhmetov. “It is a fight against the citizens of our region. It is a fight against Donbass,” he said.

Mr Akhmetov appeared shaken, and his voice was full of emotion. His address to the citizens of the east was both an earnest plea and an expression of fear—Mr Akhmetov is accustomed to orchestrating events, not having to catch up with them. He called for demonstrations against the separatists at the many factories and industrial plants under his control. On May 20th all drivers at the Donestk taxi company, which is part of Mr Akhmetov’s business empire, received a text message requiring “mandatory attendance” in an anti-separatist action referred to as...Continue reading

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