They got obscenely rich in the post-Soviet chaos. They leveraged their political contacts into wealth. And they leveraged their wealth into more political power.
The most powerful among them are Russian-speakers. But when the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted, many sided with Kyiv. And they expected to be rewarded.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's decision this week to sack Ihor Kolomoyskiy as governor of Dnipropetrovsk marks a new chapter in the Ukrainian authorities' relationship with the country's oligarchs.
It also heralds the start of a tricky, dangerous, and perilous stage in Ukraine's post-Euromaidan efforts to build a law-based state.
On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we look at Ukraine's struggle to rein in its oligarchs against the backdrop of its conflict with Russia.
Joining me are Rostyslav Khotyn of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and Taras Kuzio, a senior research associate for the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta.
Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.