On March 1, Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov — in a bid to unify the nation from Russian attempts to stir up secessionism — appointed Kolomoisky to head Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, while another multimillionaire, Sergiy Taruta, takes off in Donetsk.

On March 3, Kolomoisky spoke to local authorities, explaining his decision to take the job. The video record of the talk was published online through local Channel Nine, owned by Kolomoisky’s company. He said that he offered to take the job to “calm down everyone” from the threat of Russian aggression.

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“I think (the conflict) will be resolved. I don’t understand how Ukrainians and Russians can shoot each other,” he said. “We are building a new state, and in this state everything must be in order.”

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Kolomoisky referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a small-sized schizophreniac” who “went insane” and whose attempts to “revive the Russian Empire to the 1913 borders can bring world to disaster.” 

Yanukovych, according to Kolomoisky, is “a war prisoner in an unfriendly country” who can be “used as a puppet, be brought to Sevastopol or Donetsk.”

Kolomoisky warmly recalled the events of the EuroMaidan Revolution, the three months of protests that succeeded in ousting Yanukovych on Feb. 22. “I want to thank all the Maidan people, everyone who rebelled for the sake of their European future and to not live under dictatorship,” he said.

Kolomoisky referred to “titushki’ (thugs hired by the Yanukovych administration) as an “especially disgusting phenomenon.”

The oligarch also recalled an open letter addressed to Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes that he published on Feb. 22 when the Kharkiv mayor and oblast governor were calling for an emergency meeting of local council members of the eastern cities to call for separatism and restoring of Yanukovych. In the letter, Kolomoisky said he would not allow any separatism in Ukraine. 

“It was important to disrupt the planned introductory speech by Gepa (Kernes) and Dopa (Kharkiv Oblast Governor Mykhailo Dobkin). It was planned that after the speech Yanukovych will enter the stage and announce that the Russian military will help ‘to free Ukraine’ (from the new interim government),” Kolomoyskiy said.

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Kyiv Post editor Olga Rudenko can be reached at [email protected]

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