Vadim Zinovyevich Rabynovich: The Journey of a Ukrainian-Jewish Politician and Businessman
Vadim Zinovyevich Rabynovich's life journey has been marked by a remarkable transformation, from a troubled past in the former Soviet Union to a prominent figure in Ukrainian-Jewish communities and international business.
His philanthropic efforts have left a lasting impact on Jewish institutions and communities in Ukraine and Israel. Despite facing legal challenges and controversies, Rabynovich remains a significant personality with a unique trajectory in Ukrainian and Jewish affairs.
Vadim Zinovyevich Rabynovich, born on August 4, 1953, is a Ukrainian-Jewish politician and businessman. He serves as the president of the Ukrainian Jewish Congress and is a significant contributor to Jewish institutions in Ukraine.
Rabynovich originally hailed from the former Soviet Union but later became an Israeli citizen. He is a father to both a son and a young daughter and is married for the second time, residing in Sirogozhsk in Ukraine and in the community of Beit Aharon near Netanya.
Rabynovich was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He studied at the Institute of Automotive Technology in Kharkiv from 1970 but was expelled for political reasons. In the 1980s, he established an illegal company for manufacturing plastic goods, and he was accused of embezzling millions of dollars. He was imprisoned in Kharkiv.
After Ukraine gained independence, he and his cellmate established a company for importing furniture from Austria. In the 1990s, he served as the vice president of the international conglomerate NORDEX, led by Dr. Gregory Luchansky.
In the mid-1990s, both Luchansky and Rabynovich moved to Israel and engaged in business partnerships with the billionaire Alexander Bovnovich and the former Member of Knesset and Minister Yitzhak Moda'i. Despite their extensive international business activities, both Luchansky and Rabynovich were restricted from entering many European countries and the United States due to their alleged criminal past in Ukraine, which also made Rabynovich a target of intelligence agencies in Israel.
Several years later, he established connections with the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, and was involved in the import of gas from Russia. During these years, he became wealthy and gained considerable publicity. In 1998, Rabynovich was elected as the president of the Ukrainian Jewish Congress.
However, in 1999, he faced various charges in Ukrainian courts, leading to the revocation of his Ukrainian citizenship, though it was reinstated shortly thereafter. He maintained business ties with Gaidamak, and together they shared ownership of a Russian-language business newspaper.
Due to his growing involvement in Jewish tradition, Rabynovich contributed significantly to Chabad communities in Ukraine and Chabad yeshivas in Israel. Notably, his well-known donations included a golden menorah presented at the Cardo in the Old City of Jerusalem, dedicated to him and prominently displayed there.
Around 2008, he, together with Igor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov, donated towards the restoration and construction of the destroyed synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.
On September 21, 2011, Rabynovich co-founded the Jewish News Channel (JN1).
On March 25, 2014, Rabynovich announced his candidacy for the presidency of Ukraine.
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