Russian billionaires are involved in recruiting volunteers for the war against Ukraine - media

Lilia RagutskaLife
Russian oligarchs are involved in enlisting recruits for Putin's army

Russian oligarchs are involved in recruiting "volunteers" for the war against Ukraine. In particular, Oleg Deripaska, Leonid Mikhelson, Gennady Timchenko, Mikhail Gutseriev and Sergey Gordeyev, all of whom are on the sanctions lists of Ukraine and a number of Western countries for supporting Russian aggression, are involved in the recruitment scheme.

They recruit "volunteers" to their organisations and, after signing a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence, pay them additional "bonuses". This is stated in an investigation by the Russian publication Vazhnye Istori.

Journalists of the publication found out that a number of Russian billionaires are involved in recruiting "volunteers" for the war against Ukraine. Deripaska's Rusal, Mikhelson and Timchenko's Novatek, Gutseriev's Mospromstroy and Sergey Gordeev's PIK, a major developer, are involved in the scheme.

According to the newspaper, the firms controlled by the businessmen recruit Russians who are not yet under Western sanctions to work for a PMC (private security company - Ed.) or other structure affiliated with them, who are willing to go to war. After being hired, the newly minted "employee" signs a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence, and the employment contract is terminated.

"For example, Oleg Deripaska's Rusal enrolls applicants in the Ruslan private security company. The next day, the 'employee' signs a contract. The company terminates the employment contract and gets the opportunity to pay the volunteer 'bonuses'. Thus, the person receives 200,000 rubles from the Ministry of Defence and 100,000 from the "employer"; in the bank statement, the amounts are called "gratuitous payment to someone who is doing military service under a contract". Rusal's mercenaries are sent to the Sokol volunteer battalion," the journalists noted.

Deripaska himself is under Ukrainian and Western sanctions for supporting Russia's aggression against Ukraine, but he has nominally reduced his stake in Rusal, which has allowed it to avoid sanctions.

"The companies of other businessmen involved in the scheme also avoid sanctions. Deripaska is also associated with the Krasnodar-based Aeroterminal company, which employs mercenaries. Novatek participates in the recruitment of volunteers through the Saturn-1 and Bastion private security companies, with payments going as "charity" through the Courage Foundation, which receives money from the parent company. The developer PIK is recruiting for the war through its subsidiaries Inzhteploprogress and General Contractor - MFS. Mospromstroy is looking for such 'employees' directly," the journalists revealed the details of the recruitment.

Earlier, Italy froze the assets of Russian oligarchs worth €2 billion.

And the UK has banned the use of oligarch Abramovich's money outside Ukraine. The money received from the sale of the Chelsea football club by the Russian oligarch was transferred to the fund to help victims of the war in Ukraine, which was supposed to redirect the money to the victims of the war in Ukraine. However, only Ukrainians who are in Ukraine will be able to receive assistance.

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