Dubai, UAE – Andrey Melnichenko, one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals, has opened up about the profound impact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on his life and status. In a comprehensive interview with the Financial Times, Melnichenko, who now resides in the United Arab Emirates, revealed that he feels like a “pariah” in his newfound home after being subjected to international sanctions.
Melnichenko, known for his fortune amassed through coal and fertilizer ventures, found himself under sanctions in March of the previous year. His sanctions came in the wake of his attendance at a roundtable event with Russian business figures hosted by President Vladimir Putin in February.
Expressing his frustration in the interview, Melnichenko emphasized that his business activities were unrelated to war, as he specializes in producing food and energy for global power stations. He questioned the rationale behind his sanctions, particularly because he distances himself from politics and does not endorse military conflicts.
The impact of these sanctions on his life became evident when his $578 million Sailing Yacht A was confiscated by Italian authorities soon after the sanctions were imposed. However, Melnichenko still maintains ownership of his $300 million Motor Yacht A, which is currently docked in the UAE.
It’s noteworthy that his net worth surged to approximately $25 billion following the Ukraine conflict and the subsequent sanctions against Russia, largely driven by soaring fertilizer prices, as reported by Forbes.
Andrey Melnichenko is not the only Russian oligarch who has been affected by sanctions, with several influential billionaires witnessing significant disruptions in their lives. For instance, former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich was compelled to sell the club and relocate to Israel. Sanctions collectively reduced the net worth of oligarchs by $95 billion in the previous year, according to an analysis of Bloomberg Billionaires Index data by The Guardian.
In a recent development, tech billionaire Arkady Volozh sought to overturn EU sanctions imposed on him just days after he criticized the Ukraine conflict. Similarly, Oleg Tinkov successfully had UK sanctions against him lifted after condemning President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and receiving support from British business tycoon Richard Branson.