The Ukrainian oligarchs are a group of business oligarchs that emerged on the economic and political scene of Ukraine after the 1991 Ukrainian independence referendum. This period saw Ukraine transitioning to a market economy with the rapid privatization of state-owned assets. Those developments mirrored those of the neighbouring post-Soviet states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The influence of Ukrainian oligarchs on domestic and regional politics, particularly their links to Russia, have been the source of criticism from pro-Western sources critical of Ukraine’s lack of political reform or action against corruption.
In 2008, the combined wealth of Ukraine's 50 richest oligarchs was equal to 85% of Ukraine's GDP. In November 2013 this number was 45% (of GDP). By 2015, due to the Ukrainian crisis and the following annexation of Crimea by Russia and the war in Donbass, the total net worth of the five richest and most influential Ukrainians (Rinat Akhmetov, Viktor Pinchuk, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, Henadiy Boholyubov and Yuriy Kosiuk) had dropped from $21.6 billion in 2014 to $11.85 billion in June 2015. (In 2014 Ukrainian GDP fell by 7%; in 2015 it shrank 12%.)
Oligarchs are usually defined as businessmen having direct influence on both politics and economy. During the 1990s, the oligarchs emerged as politically-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 business-people 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 extreme. In 2011 some analysts and Ukrainian politicians believed that some Ukrainian businesses tycoons, with "lucrative relations" with Russia, were deliberately hindering Ukraine's European Union integration.
List of oligarchs by wealth
In an annualised report published by Novoye Vremya in 2019, the top 100 wealthiest business people in Ukraine were identified. According to the report, the total wealth of the top 100 accounted for 23% of Ukrainian GDP. The report identified that the hundred wealthiest Ukrainians control around $34.8 billion, down $2.7 billion from 2018, of which $30.6 billion lies with the 50 richest.
The top 10 Ukrainian oligarchs were identified as:
|Rank||Oligarch||Value||Change from 2018||Notes|
|1||Rinat Akhmetov||$9.629 billion||-21%||Energy generation and distribution, coal and iron ore mining, metallurgy, media industry|
|2||Victor Pinchuk||$2,310 billion||-14%||Steel rolling, media industry|
|3||Vadym Novynskyi||$1.767 billion||-22%||Metallurgy, Shipbuilding, Russian Orthodox Church|
|4||Ihor Kolomoyskyi||$1.480 billion||-8%||Banking, crude oil|
|5||Henadiy Boholyubov||$1.376 billion||-16%||Banking|
|6||Petro Poroshenko||$1.253 billion||+ 12%||Vehicle manufacturing, confectionery|
|7||Oleksandr and Halyna Hereha||$930 million||+10%||retail|
|8||Dmytro Firtash||$792 million||+62%||Important figure in gas and chemical industries|
|9||Kostyantyn Zhevago||$744 million||+30%||Banking, vehicle manufacturing, iron ore mining|
|10||Mykola Zlochevsky||$686 million||+8%||Owner of Burisma|
An economic study by Demid Chernenko identified 35 oligarchic groups based on data points between 2002 – 2016:
|Oligarch group||Owners (members)||Notes|
|System Capital Management||Rinat Akhmetov|
|Smart Holding||Vadym Novynskyi, Andriy Klyamko|
|Energy Standard||Kostiantyn Hryhoryshyn|
|Industrial Union of Donbas||Serhiy Taruta, Oleh Mkrtchian, Vitaliy Haiduk|
|Energo||Viktor Nusenkis, Leonid Baisarov|
|Privat Group||Ihor Kolomoyskyi, Henadiy Boholyubov, Oleksiy Martynov|
|Group DF||Dmytro Firtash, Serhiy Lyovochkin, Yuriy Boyko|
|Universal Investment Group||Vitaliy Antonov|
|Azovmash||Yuriy Ivanyushchenko, Arsen Ivanyushchenko|
|Motor Sich||Vyacheslav Bohuslayev|
|Ukrprominvest/Roshen||Petro Poroshenko, Yuriy Kosiuk, Oleksiy Vadaturskyi|
|Finance and Credit||Kostyantyn Zhevago, Oleksiy Kucherenko|
|Astarta||Viktor Ivanchyk, Valeriy Korotkov|
|Dynamo||Hryhoriy Surkis, Ihor Surkis, Viktor Medvedchuk|
|Creativ Group||Stanislav Berezkin|
|Development Construction Holding||Oleksandr Yaroslavskyi|
|AVK||Volodymyr Avramenko, Valeriy Kravets|
|Concern AVEC||Oleksandr Feldman|
|Pravex||Leonid Chernovetskyi and his family|
|Forum Group||Leonid Yurushev|
|Continuum||Ihor Yeremeyev, Serhiy Lahur, Stepan Ivakhiv|
|EpiCentre K||Oleksandr Hereha, Halyna Hereha|
|Cascade Investment||Vitaliy Khomutynnik|
|Naftohazvydobuvannia||Nestor Shufrych, Mykola Rudkovskyi|
- List of Ukrainians by net worth
- Political parties in Ukraine
- Russian oligarchs
- Business magnate
- History of post-Soviet Russia#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).
- "A Decisive Turn? Risks for Ukrainian Democracy After the Euromaidan". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. February 3, 2016.
- "The Ukrainian economy is not terrible everywhere" – via The Economist.
- EU Hopes Fade As Gas Lobby Triumphs, Kyiv Post (16 December 2011)
- "Golden Hundred. Top 100 richest Ukrainians - rating of HB and Dragon Capital". NV.UA. October 31, 2019.
- "New ranking, same oligarchs: meet Ukraine's richest people". NV.UA. October 31, 2019.
- Chernenko, Demid (2018). "Capital structure and oligarch ownership" (PDF). Economic Change and Restructuring: 1–29. doi:10.1007/S10644-018-9226-9.
- 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)