Aslund recommends terminating control of Russian oligarchs over Ukrainian regional electric distributors

Aslund recommends terminating control of Russian oligarchs over Ukrainian regional electric distributors

The Government of Ukraine must terminate the control of Russian oligarchs over the vast part of Ukrainian grid in the interests of national security.

Anders Åslund,  a resident senior fellow in the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council and a leading specialist on economic policy in Russia, Ukraine, and East Europe, writes this in his article on the situation in Ukraine’s energy market.

“Ukraine has a national security problem in its grid. It is unfathomable that eleven of Ukraine’s 24 regional electric distributors are to a large extent owned by a Russian group led by the Russian nationalist Aleksandr Babakov, who is sanctioned by all relevant countries for his role in Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea as vice speaker of the Russian State Duma,” the American expert writes.

Babkov also figures in the Panama Papers, Aslund notes.

 “The Ukrainian government should seize his assets as a matter of national security. Here we worry about Russian cyberattacks on the Ukrainian grid, when a large part of it is owned, controlled, and operated by the enemy,” Aslund highlights.  

As noted, according to US and European sanctions, Babakov’s properties should be subject to asset freezing.

The expert also points out that another major owner, Konstantin Grigorishin, by contrast, was a Russian citizen but he has received Ukrainian citizenship.

Aslund reminds that a draft law on electricity markets was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in June 2017, and although it entered into force immediately, a majority of its provisions have not been implemented.


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