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Leonid Bershidsky

A Multimillionaire Helps Reinvent Ukraine

Boris Lozkhin, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, is trying to reform the conflicted system that helped make him rich.
Not the best investment environment.

Not the best investment environment.

Photographer: Andrew Burton / Getty Images

An incestuous relationship between government and business has brought Ukraine to the brink of failing as a state. Now, a multimillionaire who made his fortune thanks to his ability to coexist with the country's previous leaderships may be helping to bring it back. His name is Boris Lozhkin, and he is chief of staff for President Petro Poroshenko. 

Disclosure: I worked for Lozhkin in 2011 and 2012 as an editor and consultant. His media holding, UMH, was the biggest player in Ukrainian radio, printed and web-based media -- a growing, opportunistic publishing empire that had partnerships with major pro-Kremlin media as well as international brands such as Forbes and Vogue. It also had homegrown Ukrainian titles, such as the weekly news magazine Korrespondent, part-owned by confectionery tycoon Poroshenko. I had regular and direct contact with Lozhkin on projects that were important to his company, but we weren't close friends and our relationship remained professional. Before I interviewed him this week, the last time I saw him was two years ago.