Privattank: billionaire Kolomoisky is fighting a private war for the unity of Ukraine

Forbes reports from Dnepropetrovsk about a private army of the Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. How is it organized and how does it fight with the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics?
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On the ground floor of the Dnipropetrovsk region crowded administration. "What is your weapon? We can not just weapons issue ", - shouts from the wet voltage Chief of Staff Yuri Birch national defense - a man in a striped polo shirt. His gloomy sides go, indignation loudly. Above it hangs a map of Ukraine, to which hastily fastened the St. George's flag - even Alexander I approved a symbol of military valor in Tsarist Russia. But Birch fighting today for the unity of Ukraine.

"The country's leadership - political impotent men - said Birch. - If you now change the sign, and instead of the "Administration of Dnipropetrovsk region" hang "the Government of Ukraine", I am sure that in two weeks we will release the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. And after two months, we will liberate the Crimea. Two months and two weeks - that's how much we need. "

Russian propaganda to frighten people "Right sector" and "Bandera" of the western regions of Ukraine. However, the real center of the confrontation with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republicthe end of April was the Dnepropetrovsk. Monthly owner of the group "Privat", a member of the Forbes list, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region Igor Kolomoisky spends about $ 10 million of his fortune to pay 3,000 troops and volunteer corps to provide them with food, clothing and fuel.

About fighters Kolomoisky respond respectfully even their opponents. "I would not call them [the" Dnepr "] band - said in an interview with Forbes Roman Lyagin, CEC Chairman of the Donetsk People's Republic. - They can call the private army. They do not hesitate to advertise their affiliation. They are well armed. They are the most organized, the most motivated and the most aggressive. "

Soldiers Kolomoisky shod, dressed and armed with much better internal troops and the regular army Ukrainian.

"The number of volunteers in the Dnipropetrovsk region is 30 per cent of the entire Ukrainian army today," - says Yuri Birch. According to his calculations, in the national reserve of the Staff of protection from 15 000 to 27 000 people, with weapons ready to defend the unity of Ukraine. <br />
Defend the Donbass

Literally every third car on the streets of Dnipropetrovsk today decorated with the Ukrainian flag, or even two. It seems that here there is an important sporting event, but a surge of patriotism caused less pleasant things - just 250 kilometers from the city, in the Donetsk region - is a real war. "Protection of the Dnipro. Defend Donbass "- read hung posters on the streets.

In the Donetsk and Lugansk regions seized the building authorities are surrounded by barricades and Dnipropetrovsk regional administration have not even the police. Nearby are two multi-colored piano on which visitors sometimes try to play. The office of Deputy Governor Gennady Korban (business partner, Igor Kolomoisky) waiting for their turn a stocky man in a khaki uniform.

Meet. My interlocutor is the commander of "Donbass" territorial defense battalions of the Donetsk region. This man (all published photos he covers his face with a mask-balaclava) known as Semen Semenchenko, under this pseudonym he RASSCyvaet on Facebook about the operations of his party. It is in this social network, he announced the entry into the battalion "Donbass" and the collection of funds for its operation.

"Semen Semenchenko" seems Lieutenant Commander Naval Reserve Forces of Ukraine. According to him, after his dismissal from the Navy 15 years ago, he became an entrepreneur. His company filmed videos for mobile TV. Company name "Simon" does not disclose, he said that then it will be easy to calculate his name.

The governor of the Donetsk region, businessman Sergei Taruta (№16 in the ranking of 100 richest people of Ukraine according to Ukrainian of Forbes, the state - $ 597 million) in an interview with Financial Times called the fighters "Donbass", "patriots", and the battalion - "prototype of the municipal police of the future" .

However, it seems, help from a native of Donetsk Region "Donbass" does not receive. "Semenchenko" states that the first military weapons to him and his colleagues managed to get by attacking May 1 with "travmatiki" at the checkpoint, guarded by the activists of the DNI.

It was after this battalion "Semenchenko" nickname"Black men" - for the shape and color of the mask.

Commander Denies "Donbass" and receive weapons and financial assistance from Dnepropetrovsk. According to him, here they provide food, isolated place for a training camp in the region. He also insists on the independence of the detachment. However, a source in the administration of the Dnipropetrovsk region recognizes that the activities of the "Donbass" is still being coordinated from Dnepropetrovsk. And this is not the only contribution Kolomoisky the war in the south-east of Ukraine.

Money for war

When, after the entry of Russian troops in the Crimea, Ukraine is ready to repel a possible invasion of other areas, it was found that the faulty batteries in the art of the 95th airmobile brigades and several units standing in the Kherson region. Then the representatives of the Dnipropetrovsk administration contacted the manufacturers of batteries and booked missing - on personal money Kolomoisky. "One battery costs about 4000 hryvnia, the batteries were bought in 1856" - says zamnachalika Staff Mikhail Lysenko.

Dnipropetrovsk region has also set up four of its own armed formation. Two battalions of special forces "Dnepr-1" and "Dnepr-2", and two battalions of territorial defense. Paid volunteers from $ 1260 per month. For comparison - the average salary in Ukraine $ 272 (according to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine in April 2014), about the same as an ordinary contractor receives, serving in the armed forces.

"They hung with weapons as the astronauts" - with envy says fighters "Dnepr" commander "Donbass".

"We are at war with a group of troops and Kolomoisky. Even people from the other side who periodically come to the representatives of the DNI, honestly admit that we are at war with the private armies of private oligarch Kolomoisky "- admits in an interview with RBC Prime DNI Aleksndr Boroday.

To finance these legal formation, was discovered a number of charities, says Gennady Korban. "The founders of these funds - public. We just donate your money to these funds. The fund is very ndantichny approach to each item purchased, "- explains the Korban. Some funds have to pass directly to the Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry, for example, money for arms. Something has to buy abroad - for example, were recently acquired 50 M-16 rifles.

Formally territorial defense battalions are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, and the battalions of "Dnepr-1" and "Dnipro-2," subject to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. But Yuri Birch does not hide the negative attitude to the authorities of the police. "A battalion of a Cop, and we do not like cops initially - said the commander of" Dnepr ". - No one willingly wants to be cop. We agree to fight, but not at the Interior Ministry. "

Methods in Dnepropetrovsk battalion hard.

For example, during clashes in Mariupol on the May Day celebrations from Dnepropetrovsk received an order - to burn all the administrative buildings, where hidden enemies. "When our guys began to die, we have given the command to act more radically against the places where entrenched Separatists, - says Gennady Korban. - Buildings were burned to nothing wason guard and there was nowhere to sit. These buildings are worth nothing. People's lives are worth more. "

But the events in Odessa, where a fire in the building of the House of Trade Unions killed dozens of people - supporters of federalization - Gennady Korban not want to talk. Only he adds: "Now there is order."


What drives Igor Kolomoisky? The governor could not find time to meet with Forbes reporter. According to "Sergey Semenchenko" among men it is no secret that they move economic interests. "[Rinat] Akhmetov (the richest Ukrainian businessman, №88 in a global ranking of billionaires, according to Forbes, the state - $ 12.5 billion) will have to answer for what he" leaked "Donbass", - he considers "Semenchenko." He is confident that will happen redistribution of resources after the war, and Akhmetov's assets will go to the person who really did a lot for the victory of Ukraine (in which he, of course, convinced).

Gennady Korban describes the interests of the group "Privat" is much more modest. According to him, the motivation completely Kolomoiskyabusing "the realization that we can lose the country, life, family well-being. And well-being - in last place. " Kolomoisky team still expects Kiev gratitude. "It is possible that some preference will be for us - says Korban. - But I would not fight for them. "

Of the major asset Kolomoisky in eastern Ukraine is Stakhanov Ferroalloy Plant.

Located in the Luhansk region enterprise - the largest ferrosilicon plant in Ukraine (provides half-Ukrainian production). On the night of May 19 by unidentified armed men attacked the substation "Diamond" and de-energize the factory. "The Group is very large losses in these areas. Calculate its hard. In addition, it is necessary to suspend the operation of the plant, there is a robbery ATMs attack on collectors, "- says Korban.

Have Kolomoisky and personal motivation.

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili admitted that the Dnipropetrovsk governor pushed it in the list of personal enemies of Vladimir Putin into second place.

During his first press conference as Governor Kolomoisky, alluding to the Russian president, he said of the "schizophrenic small stature." Putin then Kolomoisky called "rogue", "rushing" Roman Abramovich. Soon Dnipropetrovsk businessman lost its Russian business - Moskomprivatbank. But Gennady Korban is not ready yet to assess the pain of loss. "The deal is not yet complete, but as far as I know, we expect an adequate price" - smiling businesswoman-official.


Igor Kolomoisky - founder of the group "Privat" Company and the country's largest "Privatbank"; (№3 Ukrainian in the list of Forbes, the state - $ 2.4 billion). In 1992, together with a partner Gennady Bogolyubov, he founded the "Privatbank" (assets - $ 24 billion, capital - $ 2.8 billion according to IFRS, September 2013).