By Timothy Ash

An all-out war is now under way between the National Bank of Ukraine and billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

The last week of November saw demonstrators trying to break into the NBU, calling for the governor and his deputy to resign. The chairman of PrivatBank had a heart attack, and last week was the detention of a former deputy governor around the VAB case and the chairman of Ukreximbank. It all seems linked.

A case has been lodged in Pechersk court now against the supervisory board of PrivatBank in effect I guess to get them removed and hence then have all the cases against Kolomoisky pulled.

It is now a battle of wills and President Volodymyr Zelensky has to choose between supporting the reformers, the NBU and the International Monetary Fund versus backing Kolomoisky.

The statement today from the NBU included reference to support from the government and the president but surely if the president was behind them they would not feel the need to issue such a statement.

From Kolomoisky it seems like attention-seeking and he wants to sit down with Zelensky and cut a deal. That deal likely is he walks away from any liability for the PrivatBank failure and gets some form of compensation for the loss of the bank. I just cannot see that flying with the IMF.

Something has to give here. I think we might already have seen resignations from the NBU but officials know if that happens Kolomoisky wins. So they are sticking it out and manning the barricades. Brave people.

But where is Zelensky? And what is he going to do about Kolomoisky? This issue will define his presidency: fighter against corruption or puppet of an oligarch.

  • Kyiv Post
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