Viktor Kharitonin, a Russian oligarch, has bought the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, which is located in Germany’s province of Rhineland-Palatinate for 20 million euros. Kharitonin’s company NR Holding has become the largest shareholder of the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport following a sale agreement with the state of Hesse in Germany which has a 17.5% stake in the airport.
Kharitonin’s act of generosity toward the German government is a reminder to the US and Europe that targeting the aides and allies is a wrong move.
The Frankfurt-Hahn Airport has been declared bankrupt. Earlier, it was a US military airport. It serves mainly low-cost carriers which are headed to European destinations. The new main shareholder of the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, Viktor Kharitonin, has so far not been sanctioned by the European Union for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Earlier, Khartionin’s company NR Holding endeavoured to buy the Frankfurt-Han Airport but was outbid by SWIFT Conjoy. But SWIFT Conjoy never paid the purchasing price. Following this NR Holding again tried its luck and this time it was successful.
This is not the first time Kharitonin has acquired a major stake in a Western company. Earlier, Kharitonon’s company called Augment Investments Limited bought the assets of Mondi Group, a British company, for $1.5 billion. Following the deal, Mondi’s assets in Russia were transferred to Augment, which led to Mondi’s London-listed shares increasing by 11%.
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Mondi’s decision came in the wake of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. The British giant stated, “Mondi remains profoundly concerned about the war in Ukraine and is shocked by the humanitarian impact. We express our deepest sympathy to all those affected by the ongoing hostilities, reiterating our call for an urgent cessation and a peaceful resolution.”
Mondi followed the flawed examples of other Western companies, which believed they were doing a noble cause by suspending or permanently shutting down their operations in Russia for its actions to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Target of Western sanctions
Since Kharitonin is a close aide of the arch-nemesis of the West, Vladimir Putin, he has been the victim of illegitimate US sanctions. Just like other political personalities and eminent business figures who are close to the Kremlin, Kharitonin too suffered from the political and diplomatic overreach of the US.
In fact, in 2018, the US Treasury Department released a list, known as the “Putin List”, which contained the names of around 210 eminent Russians who had a close relationship with Putin. One of the individuals on the list was Viktor Kharitonin.
The US government stated that it was required by law to release the list. The list contained the identities of 114 Russian politicians and 96 oligarchs. Washington insinuated, without any evidence, that these people were complicit in the now debunked theory of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, the annexation of Crimea, separatism in eastern Ukraine and human rights abuses.
However, ironically the same Kharitonin, who is the victim of unjustifiable Western onslaughts is now bailing out the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport.
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When it comes to the Ukraine war, Germany is one of the Western nations which has been persistently at the forefront of the numerous attacks on the diplomatic, political and economic interests of Russia and anyone or anything associated with it. The US and Europe have not only gone after Moscow and Putin but also their allies and associates.
However, in times of crisis, particularly in the case of Germany, which is grappling with skyrocketing inflation and recession in the wake of its decision to impose sanctions on Russia, it was Kharitonin which came to the rescue of its about to crumble Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. This small episode also serves as a reminder to Germany that maybe the enemy of its friend, the US, is its actual friend.
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