In the annexed Crimea, the Yalta apartment of the wife of the President of Ukraine Olena Zelenskaya and a number of buildings belonging to Ukrainian businessmen and the Crimean Tatar Mejlis were nationalized. Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed “head” of Crimea, announced this on his Telegram channel.
“Crimea continues to nationalize the property of Russia’s enemies. A number of objects are being transferred to the republic’s ownership, including a building in Simferopol that belonged to the extremist Majlis banned in Russia, as well as Elena Zelenskaya’s apartment in Yalta,” Aksyonov wrote.
The fact that Elena Zelenskaya bought a penthouse in Crimea in 2013 for half the market value was reported by Reuters. According to the agency, Elena Zelenskaya bought a three-room apartment in Yalta for nearly $164,000 (about $1,200 per square meter). At the same time, the cost of such apartments at that time was 2.8-4 thousand dollars per square meter.
Zelenskaya bought an apartment from a former Ukrainian MP and businessman Oleksandr Buryak. He was also one of the volunteers of Zelensky’s headquarters, and on the day of the presidential elections in Ukraine he worked as an observer.
Later, Zelensky’s press service reported that the wife of the Ukrainian head of state bought real estate in Crimea before the “illegal annexation” of the peninsula by Russia and “in full compliance with the current legislation of Ukraine” and “at a market price.”
In April 2019, Zelensky’s Crimean apartment was put up for sale at a price of $790.6 thousand, that is, four times more than the wife of the future president paid for it in 2013.
The Russian authorities of the annexed Crimea decided to nationalize about 700 assets of Ukrainian individuals in February 2023. Among the owners of the nationalized property are Ukrainian businessmen and politicians Rinat Akhmetov, Igor Kolomoisky, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Nestor Shufrych, Sergey Taruta and others.
Nationalized assets include land and real estate. The Russian-appointed Crimean parliament believes that their owners are connected with the Kyiv authorities and are taking “unfriendly actions” against Russia.
In turn, Aksyonov said that the nationalized property would be put up for auction, all proceeds from its sale would go to the “needs” of a “special military operation” – this is how Russia officially calls the war in Ukraine.
After the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the authorities of the region nationalized 87 facilities owned by Kolomoisky and the Privat group, including the Foros sanatorium, two children’s health centers, a building of the Tavria health complex, 36 Ukrtatnafta gas stations, a fuel and lubricants warehouse in Simferopol and liquefied gas loading point in Kerch. In 2015, Kolomoisky filed a lawsuit against the Russian authorities with the Arbitration Court of The Hague over the nationalization of the Belbek airport in Sevastopol.
In 2017, the Ukrainian energy company DTEK, which is owned by Rinat Akhmetov, filed a $500 million claim against Russia for the nationalization of assets in Crimea following Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. Prior to this, the leadership of the so-called “DNR” and “LNR” nationalized Akhmetov’s mines in the Donbass.
In March 2014, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. International organizations recognized the annexation of Crimea as illegal and condemned the actions of Russia, Western countries imposed economic sanctions against it. The Kremlin denies the annexation of the peninsula and calls it “the restoration of historical justice.”
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