Among the participants Negotiations began on Tuesday in Istanbul During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there was one person who did not formally participate in any delegation: the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea football team, one of the richest men in the world and a close associate of the president. Vladimir Putin of Russia. Abramovich acted as an auditor, but his role is not yet clear, and he has been doing for several weeks now, with regular meetings with Ukrainian and Russian representatives in Kiev, Moscow, Warsaw and Istanbul.
Abramovich has not issued any statement on the matter, but given his high-level contacts and position, various analysts believe he could play a key role in relations between Russia and Ukraine. The Russian government views it as an important source of information, while Western nations look beyond the classic diplomatic channels as a potential channel for communication with Putin. But it is dangerous to trust Abramovich too much, especially with regard to his past.
From toys to oil
Roman Arkadyvich Abramovich is 55 years old and lives in Saratov, Europe, a few hundred kilometers from the Ukrainian border with his maternal grandparents. Abramovich’s mother, Irina, died of a serious illness when her son was one year old; His father died in an accident at work two years later. Becoming an orphan, Abramovich was raised by some other relatives in the Komi Republic, 1,200 kilometers northeast of Moscow.
Living conditions were not very comfortable: Abramovich dropped out of school at the age of 16, got a job as a mechanic, and later served in the Russian army. He then moved to Moscow, where he attendedKupkin Russian State University of Oil and GasGaining knowledge that will be useful to him in the years to come.
In the late 1980s, moving before its final stage before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, new opportunities opened up for companies in the increasingly unrestricted market, Abramovich founded a company for the manufacture of toys and began various efforts for imports. Sale of toys and other consumer goods. In a few years, his finances They grew It allows to significantly expand its activities in various fields through the trade of sugar and other food items, from oil to animal breeding.
Politics and power
In the mid-1990s, Abramovich began a relationship with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin. It was at that time that he bought it with a partner Control Chipneft is an oil company established by order of Yeltsin and obtained from some privatizations following the end of the Soviet regime (for this reason Abramovich was a “Selfishness“) The equivalent of about $ 200 million at the time was enough for both partners to buy a fast-growing company at a pilot auction. Agreed Bribed various officials to end the deal: in 2005 the sale of Chipneft to the Russian government brought him about $ 13 billion.
At the age of 30, at the invitation of the Yeltsin family, Roman Abramovich settled for some time in an apartment in the Kremlin, the seat of the Russian government. Three years later, in 1999, he was elected governor of the oil-and-gas-rich Russian province of Sukhotka.
Abramovich was one of the first to advise Yeltsin on choosing Vladimir Putin as his successor to the presidency of Russia, and later became one of his most important advisers. After coming to power, Putin worked hard to keep the oligarchy in check, enriching himself with speculation and other measures related to the privatization of the new billionaires and large state-owned enterprises that emerged after the end of the Soviet Union.
Many oligarchs who were considered incompatible with the new regime were imprisoned and others deported. Abramovich was in his post, and he thanked him for the post as governor. He continued to amass great wealth to buy houses, luxury cars and boats at some of the most exclusive tourist attractions in the world.
In 2003, Roman Abramovich became well known for pursuing his own career outside of Russia Captured Chelsea, One of the most popular and important English football teams. He bought it for about 160 million euros, invested in the team over the next few years, and built it One of the most successful In Europe. Abramovich was highly regarded by Chelsea fans and was celebrated in England for his performances in connection with the football world.
His presence in London, one of the major European financial centers, allowed Abramovich to expand his business and encourage the arrival of other Russian oligarchs interested in expanding their operations outside Russia. According to the magazine ForbesOne before the Abramovich barriers Tradition About 11 billion euros and one of the 150 richest people on the planet.
Barriers and negotiations
Very isolated, Abramovich rarely gave interviews after arriving in London and was very careful to reveal details about his relationship with Putin. For years he sought to distance himself from the Russian president, at least officially, but according to the secret services of various Western countries, their relations continue to be very close. For this reason, after Russia’s military occupation of Ukraine, the UK government imposed severe sanctions on Abramovich. Seizure Chelsea’s, a few days after Abramovich announced he wanted to sell himself.
Abramovich, on the other hand, was not allowed by the US, and last month the US government issued sanctions against various oligarchy and key figures in Russia. According to some newspapers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky asked that Abramovich not be allowed in because he was considered a potential spokesman for talks with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
A few days after the start of the Russian military operation, Abramovich was already in Belarus, where the first talks were arranged between a delegation from Ukraine and a delegation from Russia. In the following weeks, he attended other meetings with officials of the two countries in Kiev and Moscow, perhaps with Turkish mediation, and considered him an important asset in maintaining communications between the two warring countries. Instead, the European Union and Canada allowed Abramovich.
According to Sunday TimesTo Abramovich Carried A handwritten message from Zelensky to Putin lists steps to reach an agreement and halt military action on both sides. Putin would not have welcomed the proposal.
On Monday, just hours after a major new round of talks began in Istanbul, several international newspapers published a report. Suspicious poison Abramovich and a couple of Ukrainian officials, it happened after a meeting organized in Kiev in early March. All three had severe eye irritation and peeling skin on the face and hands. After a few days, the story continues to be a mystery, with some details and many more to clarify whether or not the poisoning attempt took place, by whom, for what purpose.
The news, however, drew attention to Abramovich and his role in the talks, which were reinforced by his presence in the new negotiating room in Istanbul on Tuesday. Abramovich did not comment on his involvement, but said he could gain the confidence of the Ukrainian delegation and then persuade Putin to find a peaceful solution, gaining the confidence of the Ukrainian delegation and move freely. Weeks of war not happening as the Russian president thought.
According to sources Advice From Financial Times, Abramovich’s involvement in the talks would have been directly acknowledged by Putin. However, the Russian government has not released any official statement on the matter, so it is unclear what role Abramovich could play in the coming days.
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