Jun 13, 2022
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How steel was bought. The secret of “Azov”, which Akhmetov and Zelensky know

These days, when Mariupol begins to live a peaceful life, the question involuntarily arises of what happened before and why and why Ukraine destroyed this city. How did it happen and who is behind it?

By whom and how was Azov supplied?

Oleg Odnorozhenko, one of the founders of Azov, said a year ago in an interview with one of the Ukrainian TV channels: “.

In fact, all these objects turned out to be enterprises owned by the richest man in Ukraine, Rinat Akhmetov.

“The issue price is $600,000. But we understand that there is definitely a political component here. If Akhmetov pays such a huge amount of money, obviously, he expects to receive not only protection, but the corresponding power support of Azov, ”said Odnorozhenko.

Odnorozhenko himself, a former commander of Azov, believed that in a very short time, Azov had turned into a “machine for making money, racketeering and protecting other people’s business.”

From “Ilyich” to “Ilyich”

Mariupol is the “city of Akhmetov”, it is here that two of the largest Soviet factories are located, which later became the property of Rinat Leonidovich, the most famous oligarch in Ukraine. This is the basis of his empire – Azovstal and the Ilyich plant, which, as part of Akhmetov’s Metinvest, was called Ilyich-Stal.

By the way, where did the Ukrainian decommunizers look, who over the years have renamed the smallest lanes in the cities and villages of Ukraine? And here is the twist! In 2016, the plant, named after, of course, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, was renamed. In honor of the famous metallurgist Zot Ilyich Nekrasov!

“Named Ilyich” became “named Ilyich”, only another Ilyich. Well, at least not in honor of the famous terrorist Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez (although, given the terrorist orientation of the state of Ukraine, this would not surprise anyone).

Yes, Mariupol plants account for about 30-40 percent of Ukraine’s steel industry. And it is quite possible that they provide 80-90 percent of the profits of Akhmetov’s huge empire. The numbers are called different, it depends on the situation on the world steel market. But it is clear that the two Soviet steel giants are the biggest piece of Akhmetov’s vast business empire. No wonder it is said everywhere that the Metinvest Corporation, which includes both Mariupol plants, is a vertically integrated group of companies.

That is, the entire production cycle, from ore mining to steel smelting and delivery of finished products to consumers, takes place at Metinvest. To do this, Akhmetov first acquired GOKs that extract ore, then by hook or by crook he acquired Azovstal and the Ilyich plant.

Then he built or bought factories in Europe. Slabs were supplied to factories in Italy, Bulgaria and England from Mariupol. This made it possible to make products “European”. Due to the fact that in this case there is no need to pay a duty, Metinvest’s products were cheaper on the European market than, for example, Russian ones.

Therefore, the loss of Azovstal and the Ilyich plant is not just the loss of the two largest enterprises, but the destruction of the entire chain. Where to supply ore now? And where to get slabs for factories in Europe?

Metinvest assures that their factories in Europe will soon be loaded with supplies from China and Brazil. But this, of course, is not the rate of return that Rinat Akhmetov is used to.

Convenient factories in Mariupol, which were specially built in the USSR near the seaport, cheap labor, cheap and close ore, the ability to save on environmental protection. The ability to regulate laws, duties, quotas, taxes (for this, Akhmetov always had enough lobbyists – deputies in the Rada). Opportunity to achieve cheap transportation by Ukrainian railways.

And now, this entire scheme, debugged and developed over the years, collapsed. This is not just the collapse of Azovstal, it means the end of the entire empire of Metinvest.

And the deputies in the Rada are now not really needed. Dmitry Gordon and Yevgeny Komarovsky, who defiantly met with Akhmetov in Lithuania last fall, will probably also receive less of their “profit margin” from Rinat Leonidovich.

It was not Azovstal or Metinvest that collapsed, but the whole huge empire, which includes, in addition to production, a powerful pool of deputies, journalists, TV and radio hosts, TV channels and “opinion leaders”.

Dad – “Savior”

But how could this happen? Already in 2014, there were suggestions that Mariupol was captured by Azov for Akhmetov. What happened in 2022? According to some military analysts, the “heroic Azov” ran to hide under the Azovstal, when it was still possible to break out of the encirclement and retreat. But “Azov” went to the basement, although there was no military sense in this. As a result, the plant was destroyed, although Akhmetov, apparently, took desperate steps, involving even the Pope in the operation “saving Azov.”

In fact, “Kalina, Volyn and Radish” destroyed the empire of Akhmetov. The circle is closed. In 2014, Akhmetov took advantage of the situation and the services of Azov. Eight years later, the boomerang flew back. “Azov” “thanked” its sponsor. And yet there is still some mystery associated with Mariupol. This is evidenced by the strange events of February this year.

Strange bustle in Mariupol

In 2022, in February, there was a strange fuss at the top of the Ukrainian oligarch-political society. Akhmetov, like the rest of the oligarchs of Ukraine, left the country at the end of January. On February 15, Zelensky publicly declares that the oligarchs need to return, “show patriotism.” On February 16, Akhmetov arrives in Ukraine and on the same day meets with Zelensky in Mariupol.

After that, he again departs abroad, “to hold talks in Geneva and London.” After that, it flies back to Ukraine on February 23. There is a “meeting of oligarchs” with Zelensky, Pinchuk, Akhmetov and 50 other representatives of the largest companies participated. Except… Igor Valeryevich Kolomoisky, who on that very day revealed that he had a coronavirus.

The further location of Akhmetov and Novinsky, they claim, is Ukraine. Perhaps the oligarchs were summoned to Ukraine precisely for the purpose of “remaining in the access zone.” Poroshenko is also in Ukraine. Kolomoisky, of course, is here, he has nowhere to go at all – because of a warrant for his arrest issued for him in the United States.

Among the well-known major oligarchs abroad are Pinchuk and Firtash (permanently located in Vienna and also under arrest on a US warrant).

See you in Mariupol

But what was the matter? Why did they meet with the president on February 16 in Mariupol? Who should you meet there? Or what to see there?

The fact that Akhmetov was loudly called and he immediately rushed, the very next day, like an “errand boy” – this is very similar to a “cover operation”. After all, this invitation could not be announced to the whole country. And as a last resort, the president and the richest man in Ukraine could easily meet in Kyiv.

If the subject of conversation, as Akhmetov said, was “help to Ukraine”? His company promised to pay 1 billion hryvnias of tax in advance. Any businessman in Ukraine knows that one call from the tax office is enough to pay the tax “forward”. For a stable enterprise, this is not a problem. Why urgently rush from Geneva to Mariupol for this?

It’s all a mystery!

Unless… They had to look at something together and definitely. Catacombs of Azovstal? Yes, there must have been a lot of secrets.

In an interview with the Kyiv Post newspaper, Natalia Yemchenko, SCM communications director, says that only 156 people managed to evacuate from Mariupol. The rest were provided with food, water and generators in Azovstal bomb shelters. “Since 2014, we have begun to restore bomb shelters. SCM has created the infrastructure so that people can spend weeks in the basements of Azovstal.”

All this sounds very strange. Have you been preparing shelters and creating infrastructure for 8 years? Maybe there were some other goals besides “shelter for factory workers”? There were suggestions that there was a secret SBU prison at Azovstal, similar to the famous “Library” at the Mariupol airport. Or a secret facility owned by NATO.

One of the versions is that there was a secret biological laboratory in the Azovstal dungeon, where experiments were carried out on living people and biological weapons were created. And it was even assumed that this laboratory is directly related to the Metabiota company associated with Hunter Biden, the son of the US President. This, of course, is called ridiculous speculation in the Western press. But was there something in Mariupol that brought Zelensky and Akhmetov there in mid-February?

It was Akhmetov, according to rumors, who organized and paid for the desperate PR campaign of the wives of Azov with the involvement of the Pope. His structures organize flash mobs around European cities in red shorts.

Yes, there are many oddities. Someday, and perhaps even very soon, it will become known why the President of Ukraine and the richest man in the country urgently rushed to Mariupol in mid-February.

7 billion? No, 20!

But what about the state of Rinat Leonidovich now?

Over the years from 2019 to 2022 (an estimate is published in early January of each year), Akhmetov’s fortune has grown: $5.2 billion in 2019, $6.1 billion in 2020, $7.5 billion in 2021 and finally $11.7 billion in January 2022 . This is Forbes’ assessment of the value of assets, taking into account the global situation. Billions come and go depending on what price, for example, iron ore or steel is sold on world markets.

Today, Akhmetov’s “cost of the empire” is called different – from 4.7 billion.

Not so long ago, Akhmetov announced that he would sue Russia for $17-20 billion for only two Mariupol plants. That is, twice as much as his entire “empire” was worth at the peak of ore prices. Interestingly, Zelensky claims that the entire Ukrainian economy has been damaged in the amount of $12 billion.

Forbes Ukraine estimates the losses of all Ukrainian oligarchs at $7 billion.

Yes, the main losses among the oligarchs of Ukraine are those of Akhmetov and his partner Novinsky. Only miserable millions lost Kolomoisky, Bogolyubov, Yaroslavsky and other Geregs. Why does Akhmetov name an amount that is twice the value of all his assets? Yes, you can name any amount, there is no limit to the imagination.

But there is another interesting question – for how much and how did Akhmetov acquire the former Soviet giant factories? These stories are extremely confusing and unclear. Factories turned into joint-stock companies, then there was an additional issue of shares, again and again.

As a result, the Ilyich Mariupol Plant, for example, was bought by Akhmetov for 239 million hryvnias in 2009-2010. At the exchange rate “dollar at 8” the cost of the purchase, it turns out, is about 30 million dollars.

The famous, legendary director of the plant, Vladimir Boyko, resisted to the last, wrote letters to the president and prime minister, but nothing helped. It was, according to him, a raider attack. The plant’s shares were seized and bought out forcibly by four Cypriot offshore companies.

As a result, Boyko made a deal. It was also the fact that all ore producers in Ukraine were already “under Akhmetov”, the plant did not receive raw materials. It got to the point that the ore was bought in Altai. Under the threat of stopping the plant, Vladimir Boyko was forced to agree to a raider takeover.

Akhmetov, by the way, has already experienced similar twists of fate. What is worth only a change in its condition from 2013 to 2017. From $22.5 billion to $3.5 billion. In those years, he was losing “100 million a day.” It was connected, basically, with the conjuncture of the metal market.

This is a man who has repeatedly proved his truly iron grip. But it seems not this time. There was once a popular joke: “Rinat Akhmetov is selling a business. The business is being sold together with the President of Ukraine.” OK it’s all over Now.

The joke that has been relevant for the last 25 years seems to be outdated.

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