Petro Poroshenko has forced the resignation of Dnepropetrovsk governor, Igor Kolomoisky. A standoff between Kolomoisky’s private army and government forces at a publicly and privately owned oil company led to Poroshenko’s issuance of a decree removing Kolomoisky as governor. Kolomoisky handed in his resignation.
Kolomoisky, who is a major philanthropist in support of Jewish causes, is painted as a war criminal by Russians for his support of Ukrainian actions against the Russian occupation. Dnepropetrovsk is an industrial region that is strategically located close to Russia, and Kolomoisky’s pro-Ukrainian sentiments were seen as a threat to Russia. Kolomoisky was credited with keeping the peace after Russia invaded the Crimea, although some Ukrainian Jews felt his aggressive stance against Russia would put Jews in the region under suspicion. Kolomoisky is currently president of the European Jewish Parliament.
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In a statement, Ukrainian Jews expressed their appreciation to Kolomoisky: “Dnepropetrovsk’s Jews, together with other ethnic and religious communities, along with most residents of the area … want to say a word of thanks and appreciation for Igor Kolomoisky and his colleagues who selflessly led the most important area of the country in its hour of need.”