Who is Rinat Akhmetov

Rinat Akhmetov
Image provided by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

Rinat Akhmetov is the founder and president of System Capital Management based in Ukraine. He also owns the Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk and served in parliament from 2006 to 2012. Although he is now one of the wealthiest people in Ukraine, Akhmetov did not start accumulating wealth until after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Background of the Systems Capital Management Group

Akhmetov founded SCM Group in 2000 and has operated as its sole proprietor since 2009. Over the past two decades, Rinat Akhmetov has built SCM Group into a leading industrial and financial firm with assets in more than 100 companies. SCM Group’s leading investment profiles include:

  • Banking and insurance
  • Media
  • Metals and mining
  • Power generation
  • Real estate
  • Telecommunications

The company earns annual revenues of approximately $12.8 billion and holds assets valued at $22.7 billion.

Ownership of the Shakhtar Donetsk Football Club

Akhmetov inherited ownership of the Shakhtar Donetsk football club in October 1995 when the previous owner, whom he had served closely with, suddenly passed away. He became president of the team on October 11, 1996. The team has many successes to its credit, including Ukrainian Premier League Champions, Domestic Cup Champions, Super-Cup Champions, and UEFA Champions. Akhmetov’s team won the first three champions multiple times and the UEFA Championship in 2009.

The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

On July 15, 2005, Akhmetov established a charity foundation bearing his name to expand his charitable giving from occasional acts of goodwill to a consistent strategy of philanthropy. The original goal of the foundation was to discover and eliminate the roots of Ukraine’s biggest social problems. Key areas targeted by the foundation include culture, education, healthcare, and parenting.

The foundation has achieved numerous successes since it began over 15 years ago. Some examples include:

  • Thousands of Ukrainian orphans have found new families through adoption
  • Thousands of adults and children have recovered from cancer thanks to earlier detection and access to technologically advanced treatment options
  • Tuberculosis (TB), a major threat in Ukraine, has seen both case rates and death rates drop dramatically
  • 20,000 Ukrainians who might have otherwise died received targeted medical assistance through the foundation

The achievements came about due to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation establishing separate programs to tackle each societal problem. Examples of programs include: No to Orphancy, Cancer Can Be Cured, and Stop TB in Ukraine. In 2015, the foundation established a separate Humanitarian Centre. The purpose of the Humanitarian Centre is for the employees of Systems Capital Management and its many subsidiaries to provide practical help to soldier and civilian survivors of war.

How Rinat Akhmetov Became Involved with Charitable Giving

Akhmetov has donated to various charities throughout his life. For him, the term charity means the ability to feel the pain of another human being and do something about it. He also describes charity as a fight against systemic issues that requires a strong commitment to seeing improvement in the lives of those impacted by specific issues.

Never one to feel indifferent to the pain of others, Akhmetov has always held the belief that he should help whenever possible. He states that his charitable giving has evolved over the years as it progressed through three stages.

At first, he donated money from his own resources whenever he saw someone in need. He did not announce the donation or expect any type of recognition for it. While this approach did some good, he soon realized that millions of other people must be facing the same problems as the person he had helped.

Understanding human suffering from a systemic standpoint led Akhmetov to develop a consistent approach to meet the vast needs of people in Ukraine. The result of this realization was the launch of the Foundation for Development of Ukraine and the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, both in 2005. He refers to this second stage of his charitable giving as the social responsibility stage.

Akhmetov states he is now at the third stage of charitable giving that he defines as personal responsibility. For Akhmetov, personal responsibility means the desire to help others must come from a deep place inside himself. He believes that anyone who has this desire and who cannot remain indifferent to other people’s suffering is well on the way to making a huge impact on the lives of their fellow citizens.

The Donbas War of 2014

Starting in 2014, Ukrainian citizens have found themselves greatly impacted by the Donbas War. Akhmetov describes how no one has been exempt from suffering, including children and the elderly. The overwhelming need surrounding Akhmetov and his employees every day was the catalyst for starting the Humanitarian Centre. The organization continues to help Ukrainian citizens of all ages 24 hours a day.

Rinat Akhmetov has made a personal commitment that he will continue to help others until peace comes to Ukraine. His charitable organizations will not turn anyone away who needs help and will likely remain serving even when the war stops.

Donbas has the distinction of being the most heavily mined region in Ukraine. According to a recent report from UNICEF, more than 220,000 Ukrainian children attend school in a war zone. They risk injury or death from mine explosions or stray bullets each day they attend school. The suffering of children due to the years-long conflict has had a significant emotional impact on Rinat Akhmetov, leading him to commit his company’s resources to provide ongoing help.