• Prominent oligarchs, Russian billionaires were slapped with sanctions by Western governments
  • At least four billionaires have renounced their Russian citizenship in recent months
  • A June report said over 15,000 millionaires are expected to flee Russia by the end of 2022

The Russian-born chief executive and co-founder of Revolut, a $33 billion UK-based fintech company, Nikolay Storonsky, has joined the ranks of other billionaires who have renounced their Russian citizenship following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Storonsky, 38, who was born in Dolgoprudny town of the Moscow region, held dual citizenship of the U.K. and Russia until he renounced his Russian citizenship.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Storonsky whose app-based payments company is seeking a U.K. banking license, has been a critic of the invasion of Ukraine, terming it "wrong and totally abhorrent," The Telegraph reported.

In a letter published on the company website soon after the invasion, Storonsky said the war was "not just horrifying, it is almost impossible to believe."

Revolut also suspended its operations in Russia and Belarus and offered relocation support to both Ukrainian and Russian staff to their new hub in Dubai.

Storonsky is at least the fourth billionaire to renounce his Russian citizenship in recent months over the war in Ukraine.

In October, the billionaire founder's Ukraine-born father, Nikolay Storonsky Sr. was sanctioned by Ukrainian authorities for working as director-general of Gazprom Promgaz, the engineering and research arm of the Russian state energy company.

Moscow-born Facebook investor, Yury Milner announced that he was renouncing his Russian citizenship in early October. His foundations have donated millions of dollars to help Ukrainian refugees in the ongoing war.

Announcing his decision on Twitter, Milner wrote that he and his family had left Russia in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea and now completed the process of renouncing their Russian citizenship.

Earlier in September, a Russian billionaire of Armenian descent, Ruben Vardanyan decided to give up his Russian citizenship and move to the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Meanwhile, in June, Timur Turlov, founder of the investment company Freedom Finance who first entered the Russian Forbes list in 2022, renounced his Russian passport and took up citizenship of Kazakhstan.

"It breathes freely here, and I believe that Kazakhstan, thanks to its peaceful and hospitable policy, will be able to build a new, richer, more efficient, just state," Turlov wrote announcing his decision on Instagram.

Since the war began, wealthy Russians are leaving in droves, deserting Putin as he continues the relentless invasion of Ukraine. According to a June report by Henley & Partners, a consulting firm that helps wealthy clients migrate, more than 15,000 millionaires, or about 15% of wealthy Russians, those with more than $1m in assets are expected to leave their home country by the end of 2022. This figure is the highest among the outflows. For comparison, in 2019 only 5,500 high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) migrated out of Russia.

Experts see this as a sign of bad things to come. A report in CNN Business quoting the head of research at analytics company New World Wealth, Andrew Amoils said: "It can also be a sign of bad things to come as HNWIs are often the first people to leave... if one looks at any major country collapse in history, it is normally preceded by a migration of wealthy people away from that country."

Following Putin's decision to invade Ukraine, several prominent oligarchs and Russian billionaires have been punished by Western governments with sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a computer screen at an internet cafe during a special interactive webcast in 2006 partly organized by the BBC, years before a crackdown on the internet in the country