2022 was a tumultuous year for Ukrainian billionaire businessman and philanthropist Rinat Akhmetov, the owner of Football Club Shakhtar Donetsk and System Capital Management Group, and part owner of leading metallurgical enterprise Metinvest Group.
Akhmetov has lost more than half of his personal fortune since February 2022, dropping from an estimated value of $13.7 billion to $4.4 billion in December, according to the latest Forbes rankings.
Despite his heavy personal losses, however, Akhmetov, who is the country’s richest man and one of its most distinguished philanthropists, has continued to support Ukraine through a series of charitable projects, military and humanitarian aid programs, and the allocation of billions in funding to various initiatives.
The Destruction of Mariupol
Despite the valiant efforts of Ukrainian soldiers, the Russians eventually captured Mariupol in mid-May when the last of its defenders were forced to flee from Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, a Metinvest facility that was used to fight off attacks — and destroyed in the process.
The fall of Mariupol led to billions in losses for both Akhmetov and Metinvest Group which, prior to the invasion, had operated several major assets there, including two gigantic facilities that collectively produced tens of millions of tons of rolled steel per year and employed thousands of people.
By all accounts, Rinat Akhmetov is optimistic that Ukrainian forces will eventually recapture Mariupol, and that Metinvest will be able to rebuild.
“For me, Mariupol was, is, and will always be Ukrainian,” he told Polish news outlet Wiadomości following the city’s capture. “I believe in the Ukrainian army and the support of our Western partners. I believe that if Ukraine receives military assistance in the required volumes, Mariupol will definitely be liberated. And when the Ukrainian flag rises again over Mariupol, we will direct all our efforts to its restoration.”
Rinat Akhmetov Was Recognized for His Wartime Donations
In spite of the doom and gloom that befell Rinat Akhmetov — and the wider Ukrainian population — in 2022 as a result of this vicious war, it wasn’t all terrible news for the businessman.
Ukrainian news outlet New Voice of Ukraine, in collaboration with Dragon Capital, a Ukrainian investment company, revealed which of Ukraine’s billionaires had made the most donations to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and humanitarian relief efforts. Akhmetov clinched the top spot on this list, with his close friend and business partner Vadym Novynskyi coming in fourth.
Akhmetov’s charitable enterprise, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, was also named as a finalist in the 2022 Global Digital PR Awards in the Global Digital PR Campaign of the Year category for its Museum of Civilian Voices project. More than 55,000 eyewitness accounts have been collected to date, all of which help to illustrate the impact of the war through interviews, photographs, and videos.
Almost 3 Billion Hryvnia Donated So Far
Rinat Akhmetov left 2022 having made just over 2.8 billion hryvnia in donations since the outbreak of war in late February.
According to a recent press release on the Metinvest Group website, “Metinvest has remained a reliable pillar for Ukraine in the economic, defense, and social spheres. Over 10 months of the war, the group has spent more than 2.8 billion hryvnia to bolster the country’s defense capability and support its employees and civilians.”
With no signs of the war slowing down yet, it’s likely that Akhmetov’s charity will continue into 2023 for as long as fighting continues, and Ukrainians continue to reclaim their sovereign territory from the grips of Russian attackers.