The perfect picture for this story doesn't exi... (2016 Tour de France)

Oleg Tinkov slams ‘morons’ who support ‘crazy war’

The former Team Tinkoff owner – and former billionaire – has let it rip, claiming "90% of Russians" oppose the war. 

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Former WorldTour team boss Oleg Tinkov has made his feelings known about the Russian invasion of Ukraine – a rare public display of dissent from a member of the Russian elite. 

“I don’t see ANY beneficiary of this crazy war! Innocent people and soldiers are dying,” Tinkov wrote in an Instagram post this week. He went on to call the Russian army “shitty”, because “everything else in the country is shit and mired in nepotism, sycophancy and servility,” and described “morons drawing Z [a Russian symbol of the occupation]” as a minority. “Morons in any country [number] 10%. 90% of Russians are AGAINST this war,” Tinkov claimed. 

“Dear ‘collective West,’ please give Mr Putin a clear exit to save his face and stop this massacre. Please be more rational and humanitarian,” Tinkov concluded in English.

Tinkov has a long history of being outspoken, but his scathing anti-war comments carry a weight of personal risk; Russia passed a law last month that allows up to 15-year prison sentences for those that spread ‘fake’ news about the conflict. 

Tinkov has had a tumultuous few years, battling both acute myeloid leukemia and the US Department of Justice, to whom he paid more than US$500 million as a fine for a vast tax fraud.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Tinkov’s personal fortune has dropped substantially – according to Forbes, he lost more than US$5 billion after the value of stocks in the bank he founded, Tinkoff Bank, plummeted by 90%. That means that he’s no longer in the billionaire club, with an estimated wealth of US$800 million. 

Despite his public opposition to the war, Tinkov has been sanctioned by the UK government. In that, he joins hundreds of other high-worth and influential Russians that have been hit by Western sanctions. 

As of this week, perhaps the other most prominent Russian in the sport – the energy oligarch, Igor Makarov – was named on sanctions lists in both Canada and Australia. Makarov has conspicuously declined to provide comment on the Ukraine invasion, and – for now – remains on the UCI management committee. 

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