A Disgraced Ukrainian Oligarch’s Bizarre Ski Resort Plan


The region’s current governor, Ihor Bondarenko, who was appointed this summer by Mr. Zelensky, said he understood opposition to tearing up a forest wilderness to make way for a giant resort. Nevertheless, he added, Trans-Carpathia, one of Ukraine’s poorest regions, desperately needs investment to fund development and provide jobs. “There are two sides to every coin,” he said.

Fedin Shandor, a professor at Uzhgorod University and adviser to the government on tourist development, said he shared local officials’ interest in attracting investment but was “100 percent against” the new ski resort.

“We know these people and know how it will end,” he said, referring to Mr. Kolomoisky, whom he described as “a leech who sucks our blood here and puts it in Switzerland.”

Ivan Pavlyuchuk, the mayor of Chorna Tysa, a village in the foothills of the Svydovets massif, dismissed concerns about Mr. Kolomoisky, saying he did not know or care who was behind the project but was determined to see it get off the ground. “If this project does not happen,” he said, “nothing will get done here: no new roads, no new schools, no jobs. Nothing.”

Mr. Prots, the Museum of Natural History scientist, said that he understood the mayor’s eagerness for better economic prospects, but that he and other mountain people were being sold a bill of goods.

“For Kolomoisky, this is just a toy,” Mr. Prots said. “He is not really bothered about developing a ski resort. He just wants to show his influence.”

Source : Nytimes