Oligarchs in command
The regime is now relying on the Ukrainian oligarchs for support. The leading candidate for president in the May 25 elections is billionaire Petro Poroshenko, who has said that Ukraine must be with Europe. He owns Roshen, the largest confectionery company in Ukraine as well a shipyard, a TV channel and auto and bus factories. He was a financier of the Orange Revolution in 2004, the first attempt by U.S. and European imperialism to move Ukraine into the Western orbit.
In Mariupol, a rebellious coastal city of half a million people in the east, Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, orchestrated an agreement with the mayor, some union representatives and the police to deploy steelworker patrols on the streets and to clear the area of debris.
Akhmetov, worth $12.2 billion and ranked 92nd on Forbes’ list of billionaires, is the largest employer in the Donetsk region, employing 300,000 workers. He has a private security force of 3,000, made up of former elite Ukrainian commandos. (WP, May 16)
Akhmetov has since made a menacing call for demonstrations against the resistance in Donetsk and Lugansk. His call has been endorsed by Yatsenyuk.
In the southwest, the major prop of the regime has been oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, who is the governor of Dnepropetrovsk. Worth $2.4 billion, Kolomoisky is the third wealthiest man in Ukraine and owns the largest bank, Privatbank, with assets in oil, ferroalloys, food industries, agriculture and transport. (RT, May 8)
Kolomoisky is strongly suspected of involvement in the massacre in Odessa on May 2. He has been a decisive factor in holding back the resistance in Dnepropetrovsk, an important industrial city.
These and other oligarchs are the foundation of the ruling structure in Ukraine as the Kiev putschist government tries to stabilize itself. This very fact lends itself to opening up a countrywide struggle against the capitalist ruling class.