Ukraine introduces oligarch register

The Ukrainian parliament passed a new law aimed at curbing the influence of oligarchs last Thursday. The country's ultra-rich are now to be listed in a register kept by the National Security and Defence Council, whose members are appointed by the president - a cause of concern for some commentators.

Open/close all quotes (UA) /

Separate business from politics

The new law finally creates a separation between business and politics, political scientist Igor Petrenko explains on the website of

“Oligarchs who have been powerful for a long time have considerable influence on the media and on politicians, so an extraordinary decision is necessary to break this vicious circle. Overall, this law follows the logic of the actions of other countries and their legislation in the fight against oligarchs. It's an anti-trust law. This is about monopolies, regulation of the media, the financing of politicians, political forces and lobbying. Lobbyism must also be dealt with, and a corresponding law must be passed in that regard as well.”

Nashi Groshi (UA) /

Implausible initiative

A law against oligarchs will be of little use if the political will to limit their power is lacking, counters Agia Sagrebelskaya, founder of the governmental organisation Antitrust League, in Nashi Groshi:

“Ukrainian antitrust laws are pretty good for officials who are really willing to work and protect competition rather than oligarchic empires. But neither Zelensky nor those appointed by him to the Anti-Monopoly Committee have this goal. ... We don't believe a word the president says about de-oligarchisation, justice and equal rules for everyone, quite simply because every day we see official documents signed by his people which go in exactly the opposite direction.”

Vzglyad (RU) /

Free reign for arbitrariness and authoritarianism

Vsglyad does not think much of the new law - but for different reasons:

“The term 'oligarch' is defined very vaguely in the law, which allows it to be interpreted, if opportune, as any rich Ukrainian who has fallen out with the president. The National Security Council, which is personally subordinate to Zelensky, also sees to this. In effect, the Council has the right to arbitrarily classify a person as an oligarch and then they can no longer participate in privatisations or co-finance political parties. They are cut off from money flows, property and power. This gives Zelensky powerful levers for transforming Ukraine into a highly authoritarian presidential republic.”