Oleg Deripaska says Russia could break up next year

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska said Russia would find its coffers empty next year and needed investment from “friendly” countries to break the grip of economic sanctions.

“There will be no money next year,” Deripaska said Thursday at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum in Siberia. “We need foreign investors.”

Funds are now dwindling and “that’s why they’re starting to shake us,” said Deripaska, founder of United Co, Rusal International PJSC, the largest aluminum producer outside of China.

Deripaska’s comments were among the most outspoken by a prominent business leader as the government looks to turn the screws on big companies after ending last year in a RECORDS The fiscal deficit and the budget are still deep in the red at the start of 2023.

Authorities are already planning to raise more revenue in the budget with proposed changes to how they tax oil companies and could take more money from other commodity producers at once. . taxes.

Meanwhile Russia saw a surprise boom in capital spending last year, the outlook became more dire, especially when heavy military spending strained public finances. But even with sanctions and other restrictions that squeeze revenues from energy exports, the economy may grow slightly this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Deripaska, who has been sanctioned by the US since 2018, was also placed under European sanctions after Russia attacked Ukraine a year ago. Loudly vocal on matters of economic policy, he called for peace in the weeks after the invasion but has taken a more cautious line on the war in recent months.

Speaking on Thursday, Deripaska said the establishment of “state capitalism is not an option” and warned of “serious” pressure from sanctions.

“Russia should continue to develop a market economy,” he said. “A foreign investor will look at how a Russian investor gets money, what conditions exist.”

Countries boasting “serious resources” could emerge as possible partners for Russia, Deripaska said. The government should ensure that Russia is attractive for such investors by ensuring a safe business climate with more economic freedom and competition, according to the tycoon.

Even with most of the world’s largest economies aligned against Russia, it still retains access to markets with a population of 4.5 billion and worth $30 trillion in global gross domestic product, he said.

“We think we are a European country,” Deripaska said. “Now, in the next 25 years, we will think more about our past in Asia.”

— With the help of Liezel Hill

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