by Federico Fubini
Patriot, 74, funded the Kiev Army. He could have fled to London but chose to stay in Mykolaiv. He had said no to Moscow
Oleksiy Vadatursky died because he said no. was eliminated by the Russians in a classic mafia execution, and sent the message of his annihilation to many others in Ukraine: a warning to anyone who might or might have received the same requests.
In Wadaturksy, the Kremlin’s emissaries had proposed to turn into an occult collaborator of Russia, said some protagonists of Kiev’s political life, who had frequent contact with him and his men. The Kremlin had hoped to use the influence of Vadaturksy, Ukraine’s largest agricultural entrepreneur and master of logistics, to accelerate the subjugation of the entire southern strip from Kherson to Mykolaiv to Odessa and paralyze the country’s transport routes. In return, he was promised protection for his nearly half-billion-dollar fortune and his place at the heart of the country’s agricultural and shipping industries.
Vadatursky was not an open-minded man: until 1991, manager of a Soviet concern, owner of ports on the Black Sea and a grain storage capacity of 2.5 million tons in Odessa, Kherson and Zaporizhia, the entrepreneur was primarily a monopoly in river transport in Ukraine. He was a tough man, maybe even boring. He had fiercely opposed the liberalization of shipping in his country, first by getting his son Andryi to enter parliament and in recent months by leading the party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. It was all the more unwilling to give up its freshwater monopoly, because the blockade of the ports today makes access from Kyiv to the Black Sea through the mouth of the Dnieper precious: The great river becomes the lifeline of a nation under siege.
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Vadatursky was not an outspoken man, but he was a patriot. From the beginning of the war he financed the Ukrainian army. His luck would have allowed him to flee to London like other oligarchs, but instead he had chosen to stay in Mykolaiv: not far from where he was born on a Soviet collective farm 74 years ago and, most importantly, dangerously close to the front. That choice was already a statement: he had no intention of giving up.
For the Kremlin, Wadatursky as an accomplice would have been a more important trophy than capturing a town in Donbass. It would have meant cutting off Ukraine’s internal communications and controlling a grain export capacity to Europe, Africa and the Middle East of 80 vessels and 4.5 million tons per year. Making Vadatursky a collaborator would have concentrated a growing share of grain supplies in world markets in Russian hands, with the political power it conferred. But the entrepreneur had rejected the pressure. He was an oligarch, not a man of impeccable method, but he did not want to be corrupted at the expense of his country’s freedom. surely his refusal cost him his life. The rockets aimed at his villa’s bedroom with such force and precision that there is now no corpse of Oleksiy Vadatursky left to collect in a coffin for the final tribute to a man of steel, even in honor.
July 31, 2022 (Change July 31, 2022 | 21:00)
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