Blackrock, the world’s largest manager of assets, starting in September has been sending teams of executives to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his officials. In December BlackRock CEO Larry Fink in a phone call reached a tentative agreement with Zelensky to coordinate major reconstruction investment in the war-ravaged country.
A call readout at that time confirmed that the two would “focus in the near term on coordinating the efforts of all potential investors and participants in the reconstruction of our country, channelling investment into the most relevant and impactful sectors of the Ukrainian economy.”
Now multiple meetings later, amid growing visibility, the initiative is being met with a degree of controversy and pushback from some sectors of the Ukrainian public as well as international commentators. This as another high-level meeting took place Friday in Kiev, which included Blackrock’s vice chairman and member of the asset management firm’s global executive committee Philipp Hildebrand.
Details of the reconstruction fund are being hammered out, but simultaneously attracting more scrutiny and criticism.
Bloomberg described the latest meeting as follows:
BlackRock Financial Market Advisory will provide services for the fund, according to an emailed statement from Zelenskiy’s office. The fund will seek private and public capital for projects in Ukraine after active hostilities end.
“We can offer interesting projects for investments in energy, agriculture, logistics, infrastructure, IT and many other sectors,” Zelenskiy said. “We want global partners, who can provide us with large investments to come.”
One international online financial publication took note of a selection of the negative reactions among pundits, including social media statements which said: “Taxpayers pay the war bills, private firms get the profits,” and “Ukraine [is] being privatized and sold off to companies like Blackrock.”
BlackRock is now meeting with Zelensky in Ukraine. In November, the Ukrainian Economy Ministry and BlackRock signed a MOU hiring BlackRock as an advisor on Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction.
US taxpayers pay the war bills, private firms get the profits.
— Gabor Gurbacs (@gaborgurbacs) May 6, 2023
RT as well as other pro-Kremlin media have leveled similar criticisms…
“Ukraine being privatized and sold off to companies like Blackrock, while being enslaved to the IMF, the US and EU through crippling debt?” RT’s “Going Underground” show tweeted out over the weekend.
And not long before Tucker Carlson was pushed out at Fox, he weighed in on the cozying relationship as follows…
Tucker Carlson reacting to a video of Zelensky thanking BlackRock.
Tucker has consistently covered the corruption in Ukraine.
In February this year BlackRock disclosed ownership of 45.74MM shares of Fox Corporation.
Now we know Tucker Carlson has been fired.
— Richard (@ricwe123) May 6, 2023
The timing of these remarks from Hillary Clinton and friends is certainly interesting…
Hillary Clinton says that the only way to end “Putin’s aggression” is to send MORE money to Ukraine.
This is right before BlackRock executives met with Zelensky.
Don’t you see it yet? They’re imposing the largest transfer of wealth from the American taxpayer to their pockets. pic.twitter.com/4kITpfoNCI
— TheDeplorableVeteran🇺🇸 (@DeplorableVet84) May 6, 2023
Meanwhile, it’s becoming more evident by the day that the much-hyped Ukrainian spring offensive has stalled, or may not ever completely get off the ground at all in terms of momentum, given also Russia has escalated its nationwide aerial attacks and generally ratcheted the pressure against Ukraine’s frontline positions.
I wonder what he has left to sell.
— Mark Bollobas (@bollobas) May 6, 2023
The World Bank starting in December began trying to put a number to Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction costs, citing at that time a figure of upwards of 600 billion euros. All the way back in October the Ukrainian government offered its own estimate at nearly $750 billion.
Zelensky’s office and state-linked media have simultaneously been informing citizens that BlackRock is firmly in its corner while touting that BlackRock manages $8 trillion worth of client assets.