Investigative show exposes influence of Kolomoisky, Akhmetov on lawmakers
Oligarchs Ihor Kolomoisky and Rinat Akhmetov control about 70 and about 100 members of the Verkhovna Rada, respectively, according to a Jan. 11 investigation by the Bihus.info investigative show.
Akhmetov and Kolomoisky did not respond to requests for comment.
Based on their voting in favor of bills that benefit Kolomoisky, he controls 24 lawmakers of the For the Future (Za Maibutne) group and 45 lawmakers in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People faction, Bihus.info reported.
Out of the 45 Servant of the People lawmakers, 25 are directly linked to Kolomoisky and his businesses.
Specifically, Oleksandr Dubinsky, Oleksandr Kunytsky and Olga Vasilevska-Smaglyuk from the Servant of the People, as well as Ihor Palytsya, Taras Batenko and Iryna Konstankevych from the For the Future group have offices next to Kolomoisky’s headquarters in Kyiv.
They have denied communicating with Kolomoisky. However, Kolomoisky himself has admitted to communicating with Dubinsky.
Meanwhile, Akhmetov controls about 50 lawmakers, including 40 in the Servant of the People faction, and another 50 often support initiatives favored by the oligarch, according to Bihus.info.
In December lawmakers allied with the oligarchs pushed through state infrastructure funding for ore dressing plants controlled by Kolomoisky and Akhmetov.
Another example cited by Bihus.info is a failed vote for the appointment of Yury Virenko as energy minister in December. Lawmakers affiliated with Akhmetov opposed the appointment of Vitrenko because he would replace Akhmetov proteges, while Kolomoisky’s allies in parliament, who are at odds with Akhmetov, backed Vitrenko.
Akhmetov’s allies in the Rada also blocked the passage of budget amendments in September. They voted for the amendments a month later after a clause was added to provide state guarantees for state-owned power company Ukrenergo’s debt to power plants owned by Akhmetov.
Bihus.info also referred to efforts by Akhmetov’s allies to fire Valery Tarasyuk, head of Ukraine’s energy commission after the commission refused to increase electricity tariffs at a rate lobbied by the oligarch.
These include Lyudmila Buismister, Oleksiy Kucherenko, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko and Mykhailo Volynets.
Both Akhmetov’s allies and those of Kolomoisky have also supported attempts to fire Artem Sytnyk, head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). Oligarchs and top officials have sought to replace Sytnyk with their protégé to prevent the NABU from going after top-level corruption.