Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Rebellious Russian oligarch who condemned Putin’s ‘crazy war’ should ‘fear for his life’

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Oleg Tinkov has fled the country, sold his fortune and hired bodyguards after friends with security connections told him “a decision has been made regarding you”.

A Russian oligarch has been told to fear for his life after breaking ranks to condemn Putin’s “crazy war” in Ukraine.

Oleg Tinkov says he’s had to sell his fortune and is now hiding outside Russia after calling Putin’s army “sh***y” in an Instagram post last month.

The 54-year-old, formerly one of Russia’s richest men, has hired bodyguards after friends with security connections warned him: “A decision has been made regarding you.”

Tinkov has admitted his decision to speak out about the war, claiming that other members of Russia’s elite feel the same but are too “scared” to criticize Putin over concerns about their security.

He wrote on Instagram: “I don’t believe in the future of Russia. Above all, I am not willing to associate my brand and name with a country that is baselessly attacking its neighbors.”

Tinkov, who owns a 35% stake in his own bank Tinkoff, is said to be worth £7.2million but his fortune quickly plummeted when western countries imposed sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

From an unknown location, Tinkov told the New York Times that retaliation quickly followed his post.

He challenged and contacted the Kremlin, saying, “We will nationalize your bank if he doesn’t sell it and the owner doesn’t change, and if you don’t change the name.”

Days later, Tinkov’s bank changed its name and the oligarch was forced to sell his shares to an ally of Putin, Vladimir Potantin.

Now that he has left his native country, Tinkov says “that Russia as a country no longer exists”.

Tinkov is on Britain’s list of sanctioned oligarchs but claims he never supported Putin’s regime and made his money as an entrepreneur.

“I believed that the Putin regime is bad,” he said. “But of course I had no idea it would be of such catastrophic proportions.”

He wrote on Instagram today (Tuesday 3 May): “It is a pity that my country has finally slipped into archaism, paternalism and subservience. There is no Russia, it’s all gone.

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“The threats against me personally, a person struggling with the most serious form of blood cancer – leukaemia, the desire to punish me just for my opinion, my honest opinion, speaks of the regime’s ultimate dehumanization.”

A spokesman for Tinkoff said there had been “no threats of any kind against the bank’s leadership.”

“Oleg has not been in Moscow for many years, did not take part in the life of the company and was not involved in any affairs,” they added.

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