A billionaire Russian banker, Oleg Tinkov, has given up his Russian citizenship because of the war in Ukraine and condemned “Putin fascism”.
Mr Tinkov founded the online Tinkoff Bank, one of Russia’s largest lenders, with about 20 million customers.
In an Instagram post, he said: “I can’t and won’t be associated with a fascist country that started a war with their peaceful neighbour.”
Few Russian tycoons have criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in public.
An independent Russian news source, Sota Vision, tweeted a photo of Mr Tinkov’s certificate showing his Russian citizenship terminated, as well as his tirade on Instagram against President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. However, the post now appears to have been removed from his account.
The banker said: “It is a shame for me to continue to hold this passport.” He is reported to be living in London, but is subject to UK sanctions, like many other members of Russia’s business elite.
“I hope more prominent Russian businessmen will follow me, so it weakens Putin’s regime and his economy, and put him eventually to defeat,” Mr Tinkov said.
He continued: “I hate Putin’s Russia, but love all Russians who are clearly against this crazy war!”
In April, Mr Tinkov castigated the Kremlin in even stronger terms, condemning what he called a regime based on nepotism and servility.
“The Kremlin bureaucrats are shocked that not just they, but also their children now won’t travel to the Mediterranean in summer. Businessmen are trying to save the remains of their property,” he said.
The Western sanctions on him and other top Russian business figures – known as “oligarchs” – include travel bans, asset freezes and impounding of planes and yachts. President Putin’s political and military power relies heavily on the support of billionaires, who got rich through Kremlin connections.
Also in April, Mr Tinkov sold his family’s 35% stake in the company he founded – TCS Group Holding, based in Cyprus. The buyer was one of Russia’s richest men, Vladimir Potanin, head of the mining giant Norilsk Nickel.
TCS’s businesses under the Tinkoff brand include banking, insurance and mobile phones.
Media reports say another Russian banker, Nikolay Storonsky, has also given up his Russian citizenship. He has British citizenship and founded the British fintech start-up Revolut. He condemned the war in Ukraine in a blog post earlier this year, highlighting his Ukrainian family connections.
Earlier this month, billionaire Israeli-Russian investor Yuri Milner announced he had renounced his Russian citizenship. He left Russia in 2014 and lives in the US.