By COLlive reporter
Ukrainian Jewish businessman Igor Kolomoisky has been appointed as the Governor of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast, the country’s second most populous region with 3.3 million people.
The appointment was made on Sunday, March 2, by Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov in a bid to unify the nation from Russian attempts to stir up secessionism, Kyiv Post said.
“I think (the conflict) will be resolved. I don’t understand how Ukrainians and Russians can shoot each other,” the billionaire said about the escalating conflict with Russia since Ukrainians overturned their government.
Kolomoisky is one of the pillars of the Jewish community in Dnepropetrovsk and is a personal friend of the city’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky. He has a home in Switzerland.
Sources in the local community told COLlive they were glad to hear about the appointment and were “proud that one of our community members was selected for this important position.”
Speaking to the Financial Times, Rabbi Kaminetsky praised Kolomoisky and denied Russian claims that extremists out to persecute Russians and other minorities had taken over power in Ukraine.
“The Jewish community is very proud of his decision to leave his comfort zone and really devote himself… to protect the homeland and develop the region,” said Rabbi Kaminetsky, Head Shliach of Dnepropetrovsk.
Kolomoisky, who heads the organization United Jewish Community of the Ukraine, was a major donor to the Menorah Center in the city, the largest Jewish community complex in the world, together with billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov.
Kolomoisky, the 377th richest person in the world according to Forbes (as of 2011), has been a central supporter to political parties opposing the now outed President Viktor Yanukovych.