A billionaire Russian banker, Oleg Tinkov, has given up his Russian citizenship because of the war in Ukraine and condemned “Putin fascism”.
Mr Tinkov founded the online Tinkoff Bank, one of Russia’s largest lenders, with about 20 million customers.
In an Instagram post, he said: “I can’t and won’t be associated with a fascist country that started a war with their peaceful neighbour.”
Few Russian tycoons have criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in public.
An independent Russian news source, Sota Vision, tweeted a photo of Mr Tinkov’s certificate showing his Russian citizenship terminated, as well as his tirade on Instagram against President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The original post vanished after it was published, but Mr Tinkov has since posted again on the social media site and blamed “Kremlin trolls” for the disappearance.
In the latest post, he also said he was taking legal action to remove his name from the bank, explaining that he does not want to be linked to “the bank that collaborates with killers and blood”.
He is reported to be living in London, but is subject to UK sanctions, like many other members of Russia’s business elite.
“I hope more prominent Russian businessmen will follow me, so it weakens Putin’s regime and his economy, and put him eventually to defeat,” Mr Tinkov’s original post said.
He continued: “I hate Putin’s Russia, but love all Russians who are clearly against this crazy war!”
In April, Mr Tinkov castigated the Kremlin in even stronger terms, condemning what he called a regime based on nepotism and servility.
“The Kremlin bureaucrats are shocked that not just they, but also their children now won’t travel to the Mediterranean in summer. Businessmen are trying to save the remains of their property,” he said.
The Western sanctions on him and other top Russian business figures – known as “oligarchs” – include travel bans, asset freezes and impounding of planes and yachts. President Putin’s political and military power relies heavily on the support of billionaires, who got rich through Kremlin connections