Ukrainian-born Gazprombank exec says he fled Russia to fight for his country and 'wash off' his Russian past

Ukrainian-born Gazprombank exec says he fled Russia to fight for his country and 'wash off' his Russian past
Volunteers of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Unit receive military training on the outskirts of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Igor Volobuev is not pictured.Andrea Carrubba/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • An executive at Gazprombank told The Insider that he fled Russia over the Ukraine war.
  • Igor Volobuev was the vice president of the Russian bank, which is a privately-owned subsidiary of Gazprom.

A Ukrainian-born executive at Russia's Gazprombank has said that he fled Russia to fight for his home country and wants to "wash off" his Russian past.

Igor Volobuev served as the vice president of Gazprombank, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, for six years.

In an interview with the independent Russian news outlet The Insider, he said he wanted to fight for Ukraine after Russia invaded on February 24.

Volobuev said he was born and went to school in Okhtyrka, a city in Ukraine's Sumy Oblast region.

"My homeland is now in danger, and I cannot live a well-fed, contented life ... when my relatives, acquaintances, and friends are being killed," he told The Insider.


"This visit of mine is like repentance," Volobuev added. "I want to wash off my Russian past. I want to stay in Ukraine until the victory."

Volobuev also told Ukraine's this week that he fled Russia on March 2 and joined Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces in the capital Kyiv.

It's not clear if Volobuev told Gazprombank he was leaving before he fled the country. The bank did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Volobuev said he did not have much combat experience, "but I have a desire to defend my country. As much as I can, I will defend it."

Volobuev is not the first high-profile business executive in Russia to leave the country amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.


A senior executive of the Russian Sberbank left for the US earlier this month, The Moscow Times reported.

Andrei Panov, the deputy general director of Russia's Aeroflot airline, also quit his job and left for Israel last month.

In a Facebook post announcing his departure, he said: "We left Russia. I left Aeroflot. The old life is over," Polish News reported.

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.