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'Look at the Siberian cities in the mid-1990s. It was a mess. Look now'

By 0 and 0 and 0
16 June 2013


Oleg Deripaska claimed Western pundits know as much about developments in Russia as they do about life on another planet. Picture: Basic Element

The success of Siberian cities today shows why Russia is on the right path, says Oleg Deripaska. Western critics fail to see the positives in Vladimir Putin's policies and the major changes underway in the country.

The aluminium tycoon's comments came in a hard-hitting interview with The Times newspaper in London. He claimed Western pundits know as much about developments in Russia as they do about life on another planet. 

'Look at the Siberian cities in the mid-1990s. It was a mess. Look now,' he argued.

'What's the difference? Safe, order, jobs, proper business practice.

'Why? It fell from the sky? Or it's because people like me run the companies and prove that we can fight crime, (and) stop corruption? By what process? Not because of three or four articles in London newspapers. Because people [in Russia] really do their best to change their lives.'

Mr Deripaska, 45, who holds a controlling stake in Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer, has close business ties to Siberia. He is due to speak to the upcoming St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The Times said of the businessman: 'He is dressed in his usual business attire: dark suit, blue shirt, plain navy tie and a sporty digital watch (a subtle touch of billionairist non-conformism also favoured by Roman Abramovich). 

'His hair is closely cropped, his beard fuller and greyer than ever, his expression inscrutable, hovering somewhere between playfulness and exasperation as he tries to explain why the West is wrong about Russia.'

He claimed the West's pre-occupation with opposition figures who are 'not experienced to run something more complex than groups of 200 to 300 people' has prevented them from seeing clearly 'the way that the Russian economy is developing' under Mr Putin.

The economy grew at three per cent last year. 'That just shows how strong demand is, local demand,' he said. 

Mr Putin's return to the presidency last year replacing Dmitry Medvedev was a positive development, he argued. 

'There's a clear line of order,' he said. 

'When Medvedev was on top, a lot of people believed it was still Putin [in control] and it was not a correct line of command..

Now, he says, 'there is no doubt who is responsible'.

Comments (4)

yep he is quite right and the feeling is this part of the world is in a very interesting track now to a much better future. There is still a lot of problems there but then show me where there aren't any.
G, Germany
16/06/2013 23:16
Show more about these successful Siberian cities? I'm intrigued.
David, Luxembourg
17/06/2013 00:21
What a fox!
Virginia, Fairbanks, AK
21/04/2014 12:21
well everywhere in Russia was a mess in mid 90s so what? Why to bla bla instead of giving statistics on the siberian cities, surely this is what mr deripaska respects himself?
Denis, Russia
21/06/2013 11:18

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