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Rinat AKHMETOV: “We all must be together: business, government, and society”

02 September, 18:12

Top of the 100 richest Ukrainian businessmen, founder of the Charitable Foundation “Development of Ukraine,” president of the football club “Shakhtar” Rinat Akhmetov, despite the scope of his business and the diversity of the ongoing public initiatives, does not appear in public often. This weekend journalists got a rare chance to talk to him in person: he opened a new modern sports school in his native village in the Donbas. During the conference and after all the official events The Day got a chance to ask Akhmetov a few questions.

The conversation began with his assessment of the motives and consequences of the trade war between Ukraine and Russia. His answer was brief and diplomatic:

“Every situation should make us stronger. It is a rather strong statement ‘trade war with Ukraine.’ The situation that happened at the border… I think, this situation will make Ukraine, Ukrainian business, and every Ukrainian stronger. We all must learn from this experience, have a look at ourselves, understand what we do right and what we do wrong, make correct assessment of what has happened, in order to be stronger after similar experiences in the future. We need to do things in a way that others would be dependent on Ukraine, while Ukraine would be independent of anything.”

Photo courtesy of the press service of Charitable Foundation "Development of Ukraine"

Vilnius Summit will be held this fall. What, in your opinion, is the main challenge and the task of the large Ukrainian business by that time?

“We must do everything we can to make Ukraine stronger. And the power means openness, transparency, honest discussion, and efficient solutions as a result. I think that these things are the most important. I support these things… When we speak about something… Let’s say, someone was asked to tell something to others, but he chose to met secretly and quietly tell it only to certain people… And I like when things are done openly, transparently.

“Why do I like it that way? Because when things are open and transparent, others can suggest other arguments. When an open, honest, and transparent discussion takes place it can result in efficient solutions. And the main thing is that we should find a solution that would always make us proud.”

Mr. Akhmetov, in your opinion, will Euro integration help us make this “right choice”?

“Ukraine has already made its choice.”

Will you return to politics?


And why did you leave politics?

“(Smiles.) I was the biggest truant in politics… Because I don’t come to the parliament sessions and I am always criticized for that. But note, whenever I am criticized, I am open to that.”

If in your life you had a second chance to start from scratch, would you have gone through it all over again?

“Yes. Do you want to hear why? When you go along the path and you are not ashamed of what’s behind – there is no need to go back. I am not ashamed. And I do not palter with the truth. That’s why I don’t want to go back. Mistakes always happen. Only those, who do nothing, never make any mistakes.”

You are implementing many interesting social projects. What is your motive?

“There are five reasons for that. First, you need to take the pain of others as your own. Second, you have to see the systematic problems. Third, you need to have an understanding of how you will address these systematic social problems. Fourth, you have to be open to all those people who also care because you will never achieve anything on your own. And the fifth is the result.

“Today we opened a new wing of the school. This is the short-term result. The mid-term and long-term results will be seen when the school train students who will make us all proud. That’s why we come to places where people need us the most. There are a lot of social problems. In order to find solutions to all of them we need to come up with a systematic approach: no one will ever be able to overcome it alone. We all must be together: business, government, and society. We must talk and shout about it, get together and win. Unfortunately, it is impossible to solve systematic social problems in a ‘low voice.’ And, of course, charity must come from the heart and soul, rather than being a fashion statement.”

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