He stepped down from his post in the early hours of March 25 after a dramatic showdown with the government that saw Kolomoisky twice dispatch his private security guards to seize control of state-owned energy companies Ukrnafta and Ukrtransnafta.
He explained the move by saying he was trying to protect the companies from raiders, but many saw the action as an attempt to resist the government’s reassertion of state control of the companies.
In his appearance on the 1+1 channel, which he owns, Kolomoisky talked about the country’s current state of affairs. He spoke of his reasons for leaving office, his team’s future plans and relations with the Opposition Bloc, which did not support the EuroMaidan Revolution that saw a change in Ukrainian leadership. The Kyiv Post has rounded up some of Kolomoisky’s most interesting comments.
Businessman vs politician
“I don’t think my designation [to the post] was a difficult decision. It happened last year after the parliamentary elections. I moved to the post of governor from business and from another country – I moved back and forth between Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Geneva. And that was a difficult decision.”
“We must understand that our country, where the war is continuing, is trying to normalize civilian life and rebuild the governmental institutions that were broken a year ago. We need reforms and vertical power strength.”
“I promised to leave my post after the presidential elections, but circumstances arose that would’ve made such a move nothing short of desertion.”
“I’m a businessman and have never truly been an official. I understood that I was a subordinate and I had a boss. But sometimes I forgot about that and started to behave as if we were on the same level. Other governors saw this and it undermines the power vertical.”
“I consider Poroshenko to be a very patient and compromising person. If I were him, I would have fired governor Kolomoisky within three months.”
“There was no zugzwang, check or mate – there was just the end of the game, and we turned the page. I left my official post; I resolved the conflict between the businessman and the government worker that had been brewing inside me. I didn’t give the enemies of Ukraine a chance to play up a conflict between me and President Poroshenko.”
“I said in an earlier interview that I wasn’t going to take part in politics or start politic projects. I’ll stay an oligarch, a businessman, a parasite in society’s opinion. I don’t see any reason to change the things I’ve been working with for the past 25-30 years. Yet, being a wealthy businessman doesn’t make me any less of a patriot than an ordinary citizen.”
“[The situation with Ukrtransnafta and Ukrnafta] was just a PR-stunt to improve the ratings of smaller parties. It wasn’t an attack on governor Kolomoisky, it was an attack on the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the People’s Front, against the prime minister and the president.”
“I don’t consider my resignation to be the beginning of a war on oligarchs. There was no fight with oligarch Kolomoisky. There was only Kolomoisky’s inner tug-of-war. And it’s gone now.”
The Dnipropetrovsk team and the Opposition Bloc
“I still consider my team to be the Dnipropetrovsk people, the Ukrainians. We don’t want any rebellion to start. Throughout the past year, we united the country and don’t want to separate.”
“Our team [in the Dnipropetrovsk administration] was a restrictive factor for the Opposition Bloc. And I think we’ll continue to be an outpost against it here.”
“We are preparing for the local elections, which have strategic value after the implementation of decentralization. If decentralization isn’t started by the higher government, it will begin on a lower level. We have already seen what aggression this caused last year.”
“If the Opposition Bloc begins running around with tricolors in Dnipropetrovsk, they will have made themselves betrayers and separatists. We won’t allow them to incite people to such behavior – and it doesn’t matter if I’m the governor or not.”
“I always tell my colleagues that we earn two kinds of money: first, the money given by natural conditions and God, and second, the money earned using our intelligence. The first one prohibits Dnipropetrovsk or Lviv or Donetsk from saying that it feeds other regions.”
“We’re familiar with [Rinat] Akhmetov and [Oleksandr] Vilkul so I can’t say they have a pro-Russian position. Some of their sayings and appearances with Russian flags are caused by flawed advice from political strategists and party leaders who want to attract voters. But they are still Ukrainian patriots.”
Kyiv Post staff writer Yulia Sosnovska can be reached at [email protected].
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter