Rinat Akhmetov spoke about his role in the fight against coronavirus
"After the President met with representatives of large businesses and asked them for help, it was clear that you were to take care of the following regions: Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts and the city of Kryvyi Rih. Have any other regions or cities been added to that list? After the meeting, the opponents of Volodymyr Zelensky said that the President gave the regions to the oligarchs. How would you respond?”
"I'll start with the second part of the question. You don't need to shout well – you need to do good deeds. I know many who can shout loudly and beautifully, but few who can do good deeds. Therefore, I would advise all 'critics' to stop speaking loudly and to do it quietly instead.
What concerns our assistance, we try to help the whole country. SCM businesses (System Capital Management Limited - a holding company owned by Rinat Akhmetov – Editor's note) operate in almost every area. Therefore, it is our duty to help every city and every region, to help Kyiv, and help the whole of Ukraine. SCM has always showed its support – especially since we were not going to keep out now.
No country in the world was prepared for an epidemic of this magnitude. We can only cope with the problem if we, central and regional authorities, business and every Ukrainian, all combine our efforts. All oblasts and cities of Ukraine have their "governors" (heads of regional state administrations- Editor's note) and mayors, and they all work for a single result – to stop the epidemic in the country. As a business company, we do not try to 'replace' the government but help our country. This is what other businesses have called for and are calling for.”
"What was your assistance for these regions in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic?"
"First of all, we support hospitals and our doctors. We are buying ventilators and other equipment. We also buy tests to detect the virus, and personal protection equipment for doctors, etc. We buy exactly what each specific region needs – we work in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and regional anti-crisis centers, headed by the 'governors' and mayors.”
"How much money have you already spent to combat the coronavirus epidemic?"
"I financed 300 million UAH to fight the epidemic."
"What does your anti-crisis center do? Since we have the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, we can assume that this organization is such a center. Did you have to create some other center? Do you personally participate (what exactly does this participation mean), or do you delegate all the work to managers?"
"I have been involved in charity work for more than a decade, and all this time I have gathered a very strong team within my Foundation, which knows exactly where and what kind of assistance is required right now. We have only professional work in SCM businesses. My Foundation, the SCM representatives, and of the FC Shakhtar representatives participate in the work of anti-crisis center in the regions and cities. We all have a common goal — to help regional and local authorities, to help Ukraine overcome the epidemic.”
"How does your communication with the Office of the President work? Can you name someone you coordinate your actions with? Have you personally seen (spoken to) the President after 16 March 2020? If so, what did you discuss?"
"I do not coordinate my actions with anyone – only with my conscience. The most important thing for me is to answer positively to a question I ask myself, "Did I do everything I could to help?"
Since 16 March, I have not had any meetings with the President. If such meetings happened, I would have told you about it. That is exactly what I did.”
"What is the situation in the context of the quarantine measures at your enterprises? Did you have to disemploy people? How many people were on mandatory leave?"
"The situation now is difficult for everyone – both in the world and in our country. It is difficult both for small and medium, and large businesses. Furthermore, I have already said and will say it again that some countries have 'slight cough', and we have 'pneumonia.' Therefore, from the very beginning of the epidemic and the quarantine, we called on everyone to join forces to save the economic condition of Ukraine.
Right now, protection of employees is most important issue for SCM. We have to take care of health and workplaces. I am sure that sustainable employment of businesses is the engine that will help the country survive and pass through this crisis suffering minimal losses. Without doubt, we do not intend to make employees redundant. This is our firm decision."
"What do you expect from the authorities in exchange for their assistance to combat the coronavirus epidemic?"
"I expect nothing." Neither the business nor me. We expect nothing from the authorities. Because we do not need anything from the authorities, except to keep to rules of the game and fair competition. I am sure that both the government and business have one goal – strong successful Ukraine and happy healthy Ukrainians. Therefore, once again I call upon not to devalue or humiliate good deeds."
"Did you leave the country during the quarantine? If so, where did you go and for what purposes?"
"No, I did not go anywhere during the quarantine (and I still haven't). I am in Kyiv."
"If the coronavirus infection affects you or your family (or any other disease), are you ready to undergo treatment in Ukraine while the borders are closed?"
"If this happens, I will entrust my life to Ukrainian doctors. We have very strong professional."
"What is Rinat Akhmetov most afraid of in life?"
"Well, I am afraid of nothing. But there is something that really bothers me. It hurts me that I have not been in my native city of Donetsk for 6 years. It hurts that I can't walk my native streets and talk to my fellow countrymen. It hurts that I can't visit family graves, I can't go to the grave of my father ... I really want this to happen as soon as possible. And I hate to admit that it won't happen any time soon.”