Russia: Tinkov, the Russian oligarch who lost his bank for criticizing Putin’s offensive | International

Orthodox Christianity celebrated its Easter on April 24 and that day the former banker Oleg Tinkov (Polisayevo, 54 years old) wished for peace between Russians and Ukrainians. “Let the war end as soon as possible, the war between the Orthodox, that which is impossible to imagine,” the ex-financier wrote on Instagram, with “ex” because days before he had had to get rid of the company he founded in 2006 against the clock. The businessman had He had written another very critical publication against the conflict a week earlier, the second time he had done so in two months, and, according to his version, the Kremlin immediately ordered the bank’s directors to cut their ties with him or he would be nationalized.

“I couldn’t even discuss the price. It was like a hostage: take what is offered to you, I couldn’t negotiate”, the businessman declared to New York Times in the first interview he has given since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to enter Ukraine on February 24. Tinkov claims to now be in a safe place surrounded by bodyguards, as he says that several friends with contacts in the Federal Security Service (FSB) told him that they feared for his life after posting that Instagram entry.

On April 19, he had uploaded a photo with an angry gesture to social networks where he said that he did not see “any beneficiary of this irrational conflict.” “Soldiers and innocent people will die,” he said before harshly criticizing the state of the armed forces, stating that the Kremlin circle “is in shock” and calling “devils” those who support the military campaign with the drawing of the Z. That publication culminated with an appeal to the West “to give Mr. Putin a clear way out to save his face and stop this massacre.”

This has been the second open criticism of Tinkov, still convalescing from the transplant he underwent for cancer. On February 28, four days after the fighting began, he posted another photo with his family in favor of peace. “Innocent people are dying in Ukraine right now, every day. This is unacceptable! Has no sense! The government should spend the money on treating people medically, on researching how to beat cancer, and not on war. We are against the war!” he wrote.

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Tinkov affirms in the interview that he was forced to sell the 35% he controlled in the company for a ridiculous price to Vladimir Potanin, one of the great Russian mining oligarchs and very close to Putin, according to the US State Department. However, he thanks the businessman for having saved some money thanks to this operation.

Your bank has changed its name again, it already did so in 2015, to disassociate itself from its founder. “Tinkoff long ago outgrew the original meaning of his brand name. We are taking a new step and moving forward: for the happiness of our 20 million customers, we have decided to leave the Tinkoff brand for history and continue to develop the best financial products for the Russian market under a shiny new brand,” said the company in a statement.

The bank responded to these accusations that the businessman had been away from the entity for a long time. “Oleg has not been in Moscow for several years, he did not participate in the life of the company and was not immersed in its affairs,” he stressed in a statement.

Interestingly, although the financial institution has avoided the sanctions that have severely punished other banks for the offensive in Ukraine, the businessman has been included in the “blacklist” of the United Kingdom in March, even despite having been one of the few rich who has spoken out against the Kremlin.

Other businessmen who also advocated for peace at the beginning of the conflict were sanctioned by the European Union in March. Among them Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum tycoon who until now had only been punished by Washington for money laundering. “Peace is much needed! Negotiations must start as soon as possible!” Said on his social networks who was accused in 2017 of acting as a mediator between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Tinkov assures in his interview that other businessmen have told him in person that they are against the conflict, but they do not dare to express it. To this he has helped the approval of new laws that punish with fines of between three and 15 years in prison the crimes of “discrediting the armed forces” and disseminating information that the Kremlin labels as “false.” In fact, the demonstrations of the first weeks have evaporated between frustration and fear, and the number of detainees has not risen beyond the 15,440 arrests that the OVD-Info portal, another of the independent media, already registered a month ago. who have been declared foreign agents by the authorities.

Despite these pressures, a dissenting voice is still heard from time to time. Weeks after the publication of the “disinformation law”, Deripaska quoted on Telegram an excerpt from an article Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1904 against the Russo-Japanese war, “Rethink it!”. “A war is beginning… and those same people who yesterday showed the cruelty, the uselessness, the madness of wars; today he just thinks, talks and writes about how to hit as many people as possible; how to ruin and destroy as much as possible the work of these people; and how to inflame misanthropy in those peaceful, inoffensive and hard-working people, the ones who feed, clothe and support these supposedly highly enlightened people with their work; forcing her to commit these terrible acts, contrary to her conscience, to goodness and to faith”, said the famous writer whom he cites today cites the oligarch at the beginning of the century.

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