The war in Ukraine, somewhat oversimplified in our media, is truly hybrid in nature. As well as both sides in conflict: Russian and Ukrainian economies are intertwined, and major businesses are more or less freely making money behind the enemy lines. It is especially true for Russia: four months after the war erupted, a significant part of energetics in Ukraine is controlled by… shadowy Russian personalities, to say the least. That magic is made possible by offshore companies, nominal owners and non-transparent ownership structure of VS Energy company. It belongs to Yevgeni Giner, a man closely associated with the infamous Russian ‘Luzhniki’ gang. VS Energy controls the majority of energy markets of Kirovohrad (Kropyvnytskyi) region and a significant share of Chernivtsi and Southern Energy Generation company in Ukraine.
Just take an effort to compare the entrance of Yevgeni Giner in Ukrainian and English Wikipedia. While the Ukrainian version contains mentions of his early convictions associated with economic crimes, an extensive record of dubious connections of Yevgeni Giner with Russian crime lords and the state arms company Rostech, the English Wiki is just a stub almost entirely dedicated to his role as a sporting bureaucrat. The rumour is that the dramatic difference in English and Ukrainian versions is a product of biased editorial work. It is kept clean to preserve the neat look of Yevgeni Giner for the Western audience.
Yevgeni Giner has his reasons to be worried about his image. He controls several offshore companies that can be exposed to the sanctions. Moreover, his (formally perhaps ex-)wife, Marina Yaroslavskaya is registered in Berlin. She is the main beneficiary of the aforementioned VS Energy company with an address Finkenstrasse 13, Berlin, Germany. Paradise Papers calls this exact address as Yevgeni Giner’s residence too. Not exactly a perfect hideout, huh?
Yevgeni Giner is associated with the most hideous personalities in Russia, even by loose standards of wild capitalism. As a part of the Luzhniki gang he was under the direct guidance of Telman Izmailov, the infamous boss of the Cherkizovo bazaar. Here are Yevgeni Giner and his wife Marina Yaroslavskaya pictured together at the opening of ill-fated Mardan Palace, the unlucky project of Telman Izmailov:
Perhaps the most amazing part of the Giner’s business portfolio is a Rostech connection. Rostech is a state-owned arms producer, which is sanctioned by the UK, US, Canada, Australia and EU. Together with Rostech Yevgeni Giner owns or participates in TOK Group, Technopromexport, some of the joint Rostech and Rosseti ventures. These companies are more or less participating in Russian aggression, or are significant tax contributors to the Russian state. The connection with the state goes as far as his football club: it is Central Sporting Club of Army (CSKA). Sic. Through two of his offshore companies, Heribono and Sepinia Giner owns at least two transportation companies in Russia. Those pay 180 million roubles in taxes yearly.
Behind the front line, where thousands of Russian and Ukrainians lose their lives in the bloodiest European conflict since WWII, the same Yevgeni Giner owns and takes benefits from his hotels and energy companies, as well as his own Pinbank. In the United Kingdom he owns Bluecastle Enterprises Limited, which is the company behind the CSKA sport club. In Germany he holds a residence permit and has registered his companies.
It’s made possible with the help from within Ukraine. Yevgeni Giner is partnering with Ihor Kolomoyskyi , an oligarch in some sort of love/hate relationship with the president of Ukraine. Together Giner and Kolomoyskyi own Dneprospetsstal.
A true citizen of the World in these strange times! Until the sanctions hit he will enjoy his cosmopolitan status but sooner or later Yevgeni Giner will be forced to take sides or face the consequences. Or rather likely both at the same time.