Ukrainian oligarchs

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The Ukrainian oligarchs are a group of business oligarchs that quickly appeared on the economic and political scene of Ukraine after its independence in 1991, just as happened in neighboring post-Soviet state Russia.[1][2] As of 2008, the combined wealth of Ukraine's 50 richest oligarchs is equal to 85% of Ukraine's GDP.[3]

Oligarchs are usually defined as businessmen having direct influence on both politics and economy. During the 1990s, the oligarchs emerged as well-connected entrepreneurs who started from nearly nothing and got rich through participation in the market via connections to the corrupt, but democratically elected, government of Ukraine during the state's transition to a market-based economy. Later numerous Ukrainian businesspeople have "taken over control" of political parties (examples of this are Party of Greens of Ukraine, Labour Ukraine and Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) [1]) or started new ones to gain seats and influence in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament).

The rise of the oligarchs has been connected to the processes of privatization of state-owned assets. These processes usually involved the distribution of property titles of such enterprises, land, and real estate, on equal base to the whole population of the country, through instruments such as privatization vouchers, certificates, and coupons. Given the different preferences of people in relation to risk-aversity, property titles were easily re-sold. Businessmen who could provide an initial investment capital to collect such property titles could thus easily arrive to the property of whole former public holdings.

The oligarchs' influence on the Ukrainian Government is uncertain, but some analysts and Ukrainian politicians believe that some Ukrainian businesses tycoons, with "lucrative relations" with Russia, are deliberately hindering Ukraine's European Union integration.[4]

Notable Ukrainian oligarchs[edit]

In January 2001 only two people of this list were seen as being an oligarch by the general public (only Lazarenko and Tymoshenko were perceived to be, they toped a Kyiv International Institute of Sociology survey in January 2001).[5]

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