Russia's Vladimir Potanin and Ukraine's Victor Pinchuk pledged Tuesday to give half of their fortunes to charity, becoming the first tycoons from ex-Soviet Union to join a global drive by the world's richest people to share their wealth.
Russian industrial magnate Potanin, 52, and Pinchuk, the Ukrainian metals and media tycoon, also 52, said that by joining the Giving Pledge initiative led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett they hoped to inspire other rich people to share their wealth.
Potanin and Pinchuk are among a dozen rich people who joined the initiative on Tuesday, bringing the total to 105, including Indian tycoon Azim Premji and Britain's Richard Branson.
"Giving to good causes is no less fun than making money," Pinchuk told AFP.
By pledging to give at least half of his fortune to charity, Pinchuk said he wanted to send a signal that his philanthropic activities were not a hobby.
"This is my commitment for a lifetime and beyond," he said by phone. "If someone can be inspired to do the same, then this would be right."