By Emmanuel Nduka
Russian Oligarch – Oleg Deripaska has expressed surprised that the Vladimir Putin administration has survived Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
Deripaska who is one of Russia’s richest men, told the Financial Times FT that Moscow had survived the effort to isolate its economy by developing new trade ties with the global south and ramping up investment in domestic production, admitting “surprise” at the country’s resilience after a war he thought would bankrupt the Kremlin.
“I was surprised that private business would be so flexible. I was more or less sure that up to 30 per cent of the economy would collapse, but it was way less.
“Yes, there is war spending and all this kind of subsidies and government support but still it’s a surprisingly low slowdown. The private economy found its way to operate and to do so successfully.
“Believing that the sanctions will stop [the war] or create regime change or somehow make us closer to the end of the conflict . . . No. We need to have another solution,” he was quoted by the FT as saying.
While life seems normal in many ways despite sweeping sanctions, Russia’s private sector, meanwhile, proved more robust than Deripaska had expected only months earlier.
This is as President Putin is tightening the $2.1 trillion economy for a long Ukraine war and has repeatedly annoyed the West for failing to cripple Russia’s economy, which is predicted to grow 2.8% this year and 2.3% next year.
Deripaska’s comments highlights that Western hopes of stoking a swift Russian economic crisis have been proven to be wrong, as the world’s second largest oil exporter has no trouble selling its oil on global markets while trade is booming with China – and with some other countries, including in Africa.