Viktor Pinchuk, Ukraine’s second richest person, with a fortune exceeding $3.7 billion, has been no exception. We didn’t have many positive things to say when in 2004 Pinchuk, as the son-in-law of then-President Leonid Kuchma, alongside Rinat Akhmetov, the richest Ukrainian, infamously privatized the nation’s largest and best steel mill in Kryvorizhstal. Later the mill was resold to Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal for more than fivefold the price Pinchuk and Akhmetov had paid.

So it’s all the more admirable that on Feb. 14, Pinchuk made a decision that just a couple of years ago would have seemed totally alien to his system of values. He announced that at least a half of his enormous wealth would be given to charity.  

Pinchuk pledged to invest into “education, healthcare, access to contemporary art and (Ukraine’s) promotion.” By doing so, Pinchuk became the first Ukrainian to join the Giving Pledge initiative, started a few years ago by billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, where the world’s wealthiest individuals are making public pledges of their fortunes to charity.

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