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Friends And Foes In Akhmetov's Orbit

Getting rich in Ukraine requires powerful friends, and results in powerful enemies. A guide to who's who in the world of oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.

A once-perfect partnership: Akhmetov is considered one of the main beneficiaries of Viktor Yanukovych's political career, trading political support for unfettered access to top government tenders and privatization deals. Here, the two Donetsk natives celebrate a 2006 win by the home side, Akhmetov's Shakhtar Donetsk. 
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A once-perfect partnership: Akhmetov is considered one of the main beneficiaries of Viktor Yanukovych's political career, trading political support for unfettered access to top government tenders and privatization deals. Here, the two Donetsk natives celebrate a 2006 win by the home side, Akhmetov's Shakhtar Donetsk. 

Yanukovych's son, Oleksandr, was also a government beneficiary, quietly receivng contracts on behalf of "the Family." Once friendly with Akhmetov, the relationship has cooled since Akhmetov renounced ties with his father following his February escape to Russia. The younger Yanukovych now appears to be acting as the family's agent of revenge, and is currently suing Akhmetov for $75 million. 
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Yanukovych's son, Oleksandr, was also a government beneficiary, quietly receivng contracts on behalf of "the Family." Once friendly with Akhmetov, the relationship has cooled since Akhmetov renounced ties with his father following his February escape to Russia. The younger Yanukovych now appears to be acting as the family's agent of revenge, and is currently suing Akhmetov for $75 million. 

Another Akhmetov associate, titanium king Dmytro Firtash, fled Ukraine at the height of the Euromaidan protests and was subsequently arrested in Vienna on surprise U.S. charges. Observers say Akhmetov, fearing a similar fate, may be sticking close to his Donbas base.  
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Another Akhmetov associate, titanium king Dmytro Firtash, fled Ukraine at the height of the Euromaidan protests and was subsequently arrested in Vienna on surprise U.S. charges. Observers say Akhmetov, fearing a similar fate, may be sticking close to his Donbas base.  

Despite their political differences, Akhmetov gained key concessions from Viktor Yushchenko during his time as Ukrainian president -- most notably, securing immunity from prosecution despite efforts by Yushchenko's prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, to put him in jail.
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Despite their political differences, Akhmetov gained key concessions from Viktor Yushchenko during his time as Ukrainian president -- most notably, securing immunity from prosecution despite efforts by Yushchenko's prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, to put him in jail.

Tymoshenko earned Akhmetov's enmity in 2004 after canceling an $800 million deal by Akhmetov and Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma, to acquire Kryvorizhstal, the country's largest steel mill. Now, as a presidential candidate, Tymoshenko appears to have softened her stance, and was rumored to have met with Akhmetov during a trip to Donetsk this week. 
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Tymoshenko earned Akhmetov's enmity in 2004 after canceling an $800 million deal by Akhmetov and Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma, to acquire Kryvorizhstal, the country's largest steel mill. Now, as a presidential candidate, Tymoshenko appears to have softened her stance, and was rumored to have met with Akhmetov during a trip to Donetsk this week. 

Akhmetov, despite serving as a parliament deputy, rarely embraces political roles, and most recently turned down the job of governing the Donetsk region. In his place, he recommended a political nemesis, Serhiy Taruta, a Tymoshenko ally and a longstanding voice for Ukrainian unity. Taruta (right) meets with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Donetsk on March 22. 
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Akhmetov, despite serving as a parliament deputy, rarely embraces political roles, and most recently turned down the job of governing the Donetsk region. In his place, he recommended a political nemesis, Serhiy Taruta, a Tymoshenko ally and a longstanding voice for Ukrainian unity. Taruta (right) meets with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Donetsk on March 22. 

Akhmetov has been criticized for failing to prevent pro-Russian separatists from occupying the Donetsk government administration despite enjoying near-absolute authority over his native region. A fellow oligarch, Ihor Kolomoyskyy (left), has been credited with preventing similar unrest in Dnipropetrovsk region, where he is currently serving as governor. 
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Akhmetov has been criticized for failing to prevent pro-Russian separatists from occupying the Donetsk government administration despite enjoying near-absolute authority over his native region. A fellow oligarch, Ihor Kolomoyskyy (left), has been credited with preventing similar unrest in Dnipropetrovsk region, where he is currently serving as governor. 

The Party of Regions has found itself in political dissaray following Yanukovych's ouster. With presidential elections approaching on May 25, Akhmetov and the party have failed to front a viable candidate, settling instead for former Kharkiv Governor Mykhailo Dobkin, who currently faces criminal charges for leading a separatist movement. 
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The Party of Regions has found itself in political dissaray following Yanukovych's ouster. With presidential elections approaching on May 25, Akhmetov and the party have failed to front a viable candidate, settling instead for former Kharkiv Governor Mykhailo Dobkin, who currently faces criminal charges for leading a separatist movement. 

Vadym Novinsky, a fellow billionaire and Party of Regions member, is considered one of Akhmetov's closest political advisers and holds a stake in his Metinvest company. A native Russian, Novinsky received Ukrainian citizenship in 2012 and remains one of the country's most openly pro-Russian politicians. 
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Vadym Novinsky, a fellow billionaire and Party of Regions member, is considered one of Akhmetov's closest political advisers and holds a stake in his Metinvest company. A native Russian, Novinsky received Ukrainian citizenship in 2012 and remains one of the country's most openly pro-Russian politicians. 

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