As Russia’s tanks rolled into Ukraine, Vladimir Putin gathered the Russian Oligarches in the Kremlin’s ornate Hall of the Order of St Catherine to discuss their response to sanctions. The Russian president seated meters away in a conspicuous social-distancing measure. Putin told them he would have no other choice but to invade Ukraine and if they wanted to keep their businesses, neither did they.
Mikhail Fridman, a founder of Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest private bank a, was sanctioned by the EU late. Fridman said that he would contest the designation, and that he isn’t politically or financially connected to Vladimir Putin. He is one of the country’s richest men and became the first of the Russian Oligarches to speak out against the conflict last Friday, calling for an end to the “tragedy” and “bloodshed.” Fridman, who was born in western Ukraine wanted the “bloodshed to end.”
Fridman’s call for peace was echoed by Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire who made his fortune in the aluminum business.”Peace is very important! Negotiations need to start as soon as possible!” Deripaska said.
Oligarch Roman Abramovich, who hasn’t been sanctioned, said that he was helping Ukraine negotiate peace with Russia. Oleg Tinkov, the billionaire founder of Russia’s Tinkoff Bank, a unit of TCS Group Holding PLC, highlighted the work his foundation does to help children and his desire for no war. Mr. Tinkov also hasn’t been sanctioned.