Russia is resisting Western sanctions imposed on it over its invasion of Ukraine, oligarch Oleg Deripaska told the Financial Times, warning that Western hopes of using the 19th-century tool to end the war or bring about change of the regime are doomed to failure, reported Reuters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is “tightening” the $2.1 trillion economy for a long war in Ukraine and has repeatedly told the West that he has failed to weaken Russia. According to forecasts, the Russian economy will grow by 2.8% this year and by 2.3% next year.
Western hopes of triggering a quick economic crisis in Russia have proved futile: the world’s second-largest oil exporter has no problems selling on world markets, and trade with China – and some other countries – is booming.
“I was surprised that private business would be so flexible. I was more or less sure that up to 30 percent of the economy would collapse, but it turned out to be much less,” Deripaska, 55, told the Financial Times.
He notes that Russia’s vast wealth of natural resources makes it too attractive for many, including China and other countries, to abandon, and that Western hopes of using sanctions to change the status quo are doomed.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Deripaska himself was sanctioned by Britain for his alleged ties to Putin. He is challenging the sanctions in court.
“Do I believe that sanctions will stop (the war) or bring about regime change or somehow bring us closer to the end of the conflict… No. We have to have another solution,” he said, quoted by “Financial times”.
Deripaska, who studied physics at Moscow University, began trading metals after the collapse of the Soviet Union and amassed a fortune by buying stakes in aluminum plants. In 2000, he founded the company “RUSAL”, which united the “pearls” of the Soviet aluminum industry into a single holding. This year, the Russian edition of “Forbes” ranked him 54th in wealth in Russia, with a fortune equal to 2.5 billion dollars, notes Reuters.
The tycoon says he doubts sanctions, which he describes as a 19th-century tool, will work as a panacea in a globalized world.
“Yes, there’s military spending and all these kinds of subsidies and government support, but it’s still a surprisingly small slowdown (of the economy – ed.)… The private economy has found its way to work, and successfully,” he points out.
In 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on Deripaska and other powerful Russians who Washington says are profiting from the Russian state’s “malign activities” around the world.