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. As of 2008, Ukraine's wealthiest 50 oligarchs account for 85% of the country’s GDP.
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) ) 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.
Notable Ukrainian oligarchs
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).
- Rinat Akhmetov is the wealthiest man in Ukraine.
- Petro Poroshenko, a strong backer of Victor Yuschenko during the Orange Revolution, who went on to work for Victor Yanukovich, Yuschenko's opponent during those events.
- Leonid Chernovetskyi, one of the first bankers in Ukraine, former mayor of the capital Kyiv.
- Dmytro Firtash, the most important figure in the vital gas industry.
- Andriy Klyuyev, a multi-millionaire with a long career in Ukrainian government with rapidly growing fortune and alleged close connection to the President's family.
- Ihor Kolomoyskyi, the second/third richest person in Ukraine since at least 2006.
- Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of ex-president Leonid Kuchma who controls much of the nation's media.
- Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine, speculated to be one of the wealthiest persons in Ukraine (although she claims to have a modest income).
- Serhiy Tihipko, a multi-millionaire with a long career in Ukrainian politics.
- Pavlo Lazarenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine now jailed in U.S. prison.
- Vadim Rabinovich
- Oleksandr Yaroslavskiy
- David Zhvaniya
- Russian oligarchs
- Business magnate
- History of post-Soviet Russia: The "loans for shares" scheme and the rise of the "oligarchs"
- Robber baron (industrialist)
- Virtual Politics - Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World, Andrew Wilson, Yale University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-300-09545-7
- Ukraine's New Rulers: What Do They Want?, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (June 03, 2010)
- Kuzio, Taras (1 July 2008). "OLIGARCHS WIELD POWER IN UKRAINIAN POLITICS". Eurasia Daily Monitor 5 (125).
- EU Hopes Fade As Gas Lobby Triumphs, Kyiv Post (16 December 2011)
- Democratic Revolution in Ukraine: From Kuchmagate to Orange Revolution by Taras Kuzio, Routledge, 2009, ISBN 0415441412 (chapter 4)
- The millionaire revolutionary, The Guardian (November 26, 2004)
- While leading lavish lifestyles, politicians declare almost pauper-like incomes, assets, Kyiv Post (June 17, 2010)
- (Ukrainian) Тимошенко і "Віттон" – Люксембурзький "мове тон", ТаблоID (June 17, 2009)
- (Ukrainian) Юлія Тимошенко і Катерина Ющенко вдарили по Chanel, ТаблоID (November 19, 2008)
- Tihipko gains strength as decisive day arrives, Kyiv Post (January 14, 2010)
- Chernovetsky enters Wprost list of 100 richest people by Kyiv Post (October 22, 2008)
- To Catch an Oligarch by Jasen Felch and Justin Kane, Center for Investigative Reporting (October 4, 2004)