The former vice president of Gazprombank has no doubt: Russia must fall

  • – I was thinking about leaving Russia in 2014. After February 24, I looked at myself in the mirror and was very disgusted and realized that I was also responsible for what happened in Ukraine – says Volobyev.
  • – I was not threatened in Russia. I was not persecuted. I had a good relationship at work. I did not ask questions. I live a prosperous life. I did not run away from Russia. I went to fight in Ukraine. These are different things – he explains
  • Until a few weeks ago, Volobuyev was vice president of Gazprombank, Putin’s main bank in Russia. It is through this financial institution that Europe buys gas from Moscow. Previously, Volobuyev, of Ukrainian descent, was in charge of Casprom’s PR for many years.
  • He told Onat what forced him to leave a hot spot in Casprombank, how much he earned in this position and how he assessed the sudden deaths of Casprom managers.
  • You can follow the information on security in Ukraine 24 hours a day on our website Direct relationships
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Tell us about the day you decided to leave Russia. Was it a deliberate decision or an arbitrary one?

Igor Volobuyev: On February 24, I decided to leave Russia. I woke up and saw the news, Ochtyrka called my father, Sumy. Then I started getting messages and phone calls from friends in Ukraine. Everyone told me what was going on in my own country. I could not find the voices of those I had known since my childhood: they spoke unusually softly. Some were already hiding from the fire. They said I had to do something and some people were ashamed of me.

So I was disgusted to see myself in the mirror. I also felt responsible for the events that took place in Ukraine. When I live a normal life, my friends and relatives perish. I went to Turkey on March 2 to handle organizational matters for a few days. From there I came to Ukraine.

Did you warn your friends and acquaintances in Russia that you were going to Ukraine?

No. No one knows. I was told I was going to Istanbul on vacation. No doubt about it.

Was your family in Russia now?

This is a matter of their security, so this information should be kept confidential. But I will say that those closest to me were in Russia. Now I am alone in Kiev.

Your father lives in Oktarka. How did the war affect him personally?

He has been there since the beginning of the war. He spent most of his time with his family in the basement of his house. Were hiding there. Then the Russians destroyed the heat and power plant and removed the heat from the city. And the cellars became unbearably cold. Then the father and his wife left and are now in a safe place.

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Did your father support your decision to return to Ukraine? What did your Ukrainian friends say?

Those who know me well are not surprised. They understood that I could make such a decision.

Did your friends from Russia invite you after you came to Ukraine? Maybe they wrote?

I have not contacted anyone from Russia. No one there knows my new phone number.

You said earlier that the idea of ​​leaving Russia in 2014 first came to you. Why did you wait so long?

I am not alone. I chose between my homeland and my family.

Are you already enlisted in the territorial security of Ukraine?

not yet. I am looking for other ways to be effective.

Recently, it was reported that all your accounts in Russia have been blocked. How much is it?

Do not want to specify a specific amount. But it doesn’t make a lot of money. Not a million dollars. I only took the money with me. About 10 thousand holes. (PLN 45,000 – ed.) I’m not ready to leave. I have no alternative airport.

How much did you earn as vice president of Gazprombank?

680 thousand. Rubles per month (approximately PLN 45,000 at current exchange rate – ed.)

Suspicious deaths are rife in Russia by top officials. Vladislav Avayev, the first vice president of Gazprombank, and Sergei Protasenia, the former head of the Russian gas company Novatek, and their families have died. Do you believe these are suicides?

I do not believe. The children died there. I could not believe that they killed their children and themselves.

Was the fear of life an additional motivation to move from Russia to Ukraine?

I was not threatened in Russia. I was not persecuted. I had a good relationship at work. I did not ask questions. I live a prosperous life. I did not run away from Russia. I went to fight in Ukraine. These are different things.

Ordinary Russians today believe that Russia is protecting Ukraine from the Nazis. Russia has a very powerful propaganda machine, and I understand how Maria Petrovna from the countryside, who receives information only from television, can trust such information. Tell me what businessmen and top executives believe?

I know people at Gazprom and Gazprombank who understand crime. But that does not mean they will give up everything and go on a rally against the government. They are not ready to act: to resign, to speak in public. Yes, they think, “Why not?” But they are not easy to understand. It is important to do something. Putin has gone a long way. If everyone was quiet, he might shed more blood.

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The rest of the article is below the video content:

You say that those who know what is really going on are in Cosprom. Did they tell you about it personally?

After the war and before I left, I did not communicate with anyone. But after 2014 such talks took place around me. It was said that Russia’s actions could have serious consequences in the future. But there were those who supported the actions of the Russian government. Campaign jobs. Russia is sick. To be treated.

Do you think Russia can be “cured”?

As long as Russia is as big a country as it is today, I think it will be a constant threat to anyone. It can only be “cured” if it is broken into several parts. In Russia, many poor people are dissatisfied with the monetary policy of the rich. Such a scenario is possible.

Russian bloggers and opinion leaders have publicly supported the killing of Ukrainians, and there have been reports that Russia must use nuclear weapons to destroy Ukraine. It seems to me that their hatred is very deep. So what treatment can we talk about?

It is somewhere at the genetic level. In Russia there is no freedom of speech, no freedom. All these people are part of the Russian campaign. And most of them can no longer be cured. But if the Russian Federation were within the limits it exists today, they would always threaten, fight, attack, and force friendship with each other. The Russians believe in their greatness. It is an imperial tumor in the minds of many. And the tumor can be removed. If Russia collapses, there will be no greatness or power.

Rumors are circulating in Putin that Putin’s closest circle is dissatisfied with the sanctions. They can “remove” the President of the Russian Federation. How do you evaluate this opportunity?

I believe it is possible. Maybe some of his entourage will want to escape. This is the opportunity. However, I do not believe the Russians can bring him down.

You have been responsible for Cosprom’s PR for many years. Tell us, how does the propaganda machine work under the gas conditions of war veterans?

They are all administered by the President and personally by Oleksiy Gromov. Has been in power for many years. Putin’s former spokesman, vice president of the presidential administration. He personally pulls all the strings and carries out Cosprom orders.

So Cosprom is headed by Putin. This is the lever of political influence. It does not follow economic rules because it will not stop sending 10 billion cubic meters. Annual gas to Poland.

And Poland, like the Baltic states, no longer dances to Putin’s melody. I will say this: if everyone in the EU were like Poland, there would be no such problems with Russia today. For a long time no one would buy anything from them.

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How do you think Putin’s gas war with the world will end?

In the EU, the key word is “union”. For example, Poland sacrifices itself and chooses a path, at which time Hungary says you can pay rubles for gas. If all countries choose the path of Poland, any attempt by Russia to threaten the world will be in vain. Because nations do not kneel. Poland proposes to impose a tax on all raw materials from Russia. That makes sense. The strength of the EU will work if everyone is united.

You raised the topic of gas payments in rubles. Currently, a plan for calculations in euros is being discussed, which will be converted into rubles in Russia. Basically nothing seems to change. Is this a prohibition?

In this case, it is important for everyone to see how the Russian Federation can unilaterally amend the agreements. In practice, we still do not understand how such a scheme works. Does the buyer transfer money to a special Gazprombank account, and does Gazprombank transfer this money to the transfer office? We do not know. There are many questions about this project. The most important thing is that by doing so, Russia wants to show the world again whose responsibility it is. “You have to pay rubles and obey.” Showing who is the king of the European world. And the world needs to see if this is just another blackmail.

How much will it cost Russia to lose European markets?

If there was a real embargo on all Russian gas and oil, it would cost Russia $ 150-160 billion. The important question here is whether it will stop them.

How long will Russia’s total embargo last?

Rarely does anyone know the answer to this question. For now, they have divided Poland and Bulgaria. This will cost them $ 8 billion. Annually. The amount is not significant, but already painful. Especially when you spend a lot of money on war.

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