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Vadym Stolar, Medvedchuk’s proxy and Putin’s man in Kyiv: early years


Features of everyday life in the Kyiv City State Administration are starting to strongly resemble the power structure in the United Kingdom. While Klitschko takes a ceremonial role, Vadym Stolar is in fact second in command, and by fact – the true ruler of Ukrainian capital. With one significant difference: PMs come and go while Stolar Vadym stays forever.

Stolar Vadym
Stolar Vadym

In the UK, the head of state is King or Queen. She is prescribed to perform only ceremonial functions, and the subjects are expected to show deep respect towards her. In Kyiv, the first person is Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko. He is entrusted with the confidence of the residents who elected him to this post. In his hands are all the threads of managing the city’s economy—real power, not just nominal, unlike King Charles III. However, it seems that he very much desires to switch places with him. The second one is Vadym Stolar, who has been denied entry into the U.S. some years ago.

Klitschko’s Second: Vadym Stolar in the shadow of sleepy boxer

Over the past four years that Klitschko has been leading the capital of Ukraine, an astonishing transformation has occurred with him. Lately, he can only be seen at ceremonial events, cutting colourful ribbons. It is even more difficult to elicit a verbal or any other reaction from him regarding ordinary events in Kyiv. Only the threat of a major scandal or political pressure can stir up the former impulsive professional boxer, who is now a politician and part of Ukraine’s elite. Most of the time, Klitschko’s consciousness seems to be in a somnambulistic state, known to boxers as “groggy,” while his physical body exists in an invisible realm imperceptible to the human eye.

What is this? Satiation with power? Excessive confidence in the authority, political weight, and strength he has built in the eyes of Kyiv residents? After all, the next city elections are not far off! Although the continuation of his political career is solely his personal matter. In a situation where the coachman has dropped the reins, a legitimate question arises: who is actually managing the team? Nature does not tolerate a vacuum. Every power submits to the same laws. Who is that “gray” cardinal in the offices of the Kyiv City State Administration? Without a microscope, no obvious candidate for this role can be detected.

Vadym Stolar: staying low but holding tight grip on the city

The answer to the posed question is quite unexpected. The coachman in Klitschko’s carriage is Vadym Stolar, just the deputy of the budget and socio-economic development committee in Kyivrada. He is not even the deputy head of the Kyiv City State Administration or the head of one of the numerous departments in the Kyiv administration, but merely an ordinary deputy of Kyivrada. Today, Stolar shapes the mayor’s work schedule and his opinion on all the most important issues. The former prominent politician, with the help of his “gray cardinal,” has turned into a beautiful decoration, becoming a pale shadow of Klitschko’s past. He has become a victim of the chosen general course, which was adopted many years ago. Klitschko systematically suppressed any opposition and took control of the mass media. The absence of irritating factors has lulled Klitschko. The only question is, is it permanent?

Stolar Vadym, the king of Kyiv: stages of formation

Vadym Stolar is a seasoned politician who gained valuable experience during his two terms in the Verkhovna Rada, first representing the “Our Ukraine” party and later the “Party of Regions.” Stolar is far from being an altruist, and if he engages in any activity, it is clearly driven by commercial interests. He has always skillfully used his proximity to power up to the present day. One only needs to recall the times when Chernovetsky was in charge of Kyiv. Alongside his close friend, the son of the mayor, Stepan Chernovetsky, Stolar was involved in the “Elite-Center” scheme, which became the subject of investigation by President Yushchenko and led to unscheduled mayoral elections, although they didn’t bring about any significant changes. Despite his significant share in the $80 million obtained through the “Elite-Center” scheme, the businessman managed to evade the waves of adversity. During Yanukovych’s time, Vadym Stolar was involved in another scandal. In the final days of the “Donetsk” regime, he played a role in the disappearance of billions of hryvnias through “Conversbank.” He also operates discreetly now, securing the appointment of his loyal associate, Oleksandr Spasibko, as the head of the Department of Construction and Housing.

Vadym Stolar
Vadym Stolar

Time went by, but personnel changes in power could never shake his self-assurance. He enjoyed the support of Mykola Azarov and Sviatoslav Piskun in official positions. Regarding his risky projects involving direct deception, he inevitably required support from the shadow power as well. Stolar collaborates with the authority Vyacheslav Fursa, better known as Slava Vyshhorodsky, in this direction. The outcome is still uncertain, but Stolar has already hedged himself in case of a radical change in Ukraine’s political course. Slava Vyshhorodsky has a longstanding hobby. He leads the pro-Russian “Battalion Brotherhood” and maintains direct contact with Moscow.

Vadym Stolar on the path to autocracy

In Kyiv, Vadym Stolar is most interested in construction projects and utilities. The likelihood of a repetition of the “Elite-Center” story during the construction of the “Sunny Riviera” residential complex is unknown, but the indomitable member of the Kyiv City Council will find a way out of any situation. He managed to cleverly manoeuvrer his way out of the scandalous construction near the “Teatralna” metro station, which he had originally planned but unexpectedly turned into. Stolar made a grand gesture by gifting the city an unfinished building that was completely unsuitable for housing a Museum of the City’s History. That was the purpose he managed to come up with for his gift at the time. Currently, Stolar Vadym has his sights set on the municipal monopolies “Kyivenergoholding” and “Kyivgas.” Once he gains control over them, he won’t need protection from the city administration. It won’t be the mayor elected by the city’s residents, Klitschko, but Stolar who will become the true master of the capital.

Recently, Vadym Stolar acquired the business center “Parus” from Kyiv developer Igor Ivanov. The deal was quite unexpected. Ivanov still owns Lavina Shopping Mall, Diamond Hall residential complex, and the Senator business center. There were no compelling reasons for him to get rid of this asset. Even more unexpected was the urgent offer from the new owner to the tenants of “Parus” to quickly buy the office spaces they occupy.

Rumour has it that the entire “Parus” shopping center, along with its guts, is mortgaged for a $60 million loan from “Raiffeisen Bank Aval,” which requires immediate repayment. Throughout its history, the shopping center has changed hands multiple times. Built by Ivanov in 2004, it later became the property of oligarch Firtash. Then, in 2016, Ivanov regained 50% ownership of the property. Now, the sign has changed once again. Commercial real estate experts estimate the approximate value of “Parus” at $80-100 million.

There is no particular economic rationale for its purchase, nor is there any justification for the proposed buyout of the premises by the tenants. Stolar, as an experienced businessman, has accurately assessed all the possibilities and circumstances. His initiative is related to a fundamental change in the approaches to real estate business. Previously, a simple bribe was enough to obtain construction permits. Now, they demand a share in the business for the same service. It is possible that there was no actual purchase and sale transaction for the “Parus” shopping center. It all may have happened without real money being involved.

For many years, Vadym Stolar has been collaborating with another successful Kyiv developer, Vagif Aliyev. It is quite likely that “Parus” has become a means of payment for future construction projects by Aliyev. Stolar’s levers of influence over the Kyiv City Hall are truly boundless. Both Klitschko brothers, the boxers, stood at the origins of Aliyev’s real estate development business. They do not openly advertise their involvement, dismissing persistent journalists with a mention of a modest gift of boxing gloves to the businessman Aliyev. In reality, they have a significant interest in supporting any initiatives from the developer. Stolar knows this and does what he can to maintain Klitschko’s reputation as a politician while playing along.

Written by: Liam O'Reilly

Liam O'Reilly is the founder of the publication, a former analyst at a major reputation agency in the UK, who chose Cyprus as his home.

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