Billionaire predicts ‘most brutal’ financial crisis for Russia over Ukraine
The harsh international sanctions imposed on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine will plunge the country into a never-before-seen economic crisis, billionaire Oleg Deripaska has warned.
“I understand this better than the rest. When people say: Are they going to drop the ‘iron curtain’? The ‘iron curtain’ has already been dropped,” Deripaska proclaimed during his speech at an economic forum in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on Thursday.
The ‘iron curtain’ is a Cold War-era term, attributed to Winston Churchill, which was employed to describe the isolation of the Soviet Union and its satellite states from the West. But Deripaska, who was Russia’s richest man in the late 2000s, has used it to refer to the new sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US, the EU, and other countries in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Among other things, Russian planes have been barred from American and European airspace; some of the country’s biggest banks have been cut off from the SWIFT global payment network; and major foreign companies such as Apple and Ikea have halted their operations in Russia.
“The most brutal financial crisis” is awaiting Russia for the next several years, he insisted. “Multiply the 1998 crisis by at least three.”
August 1998 saw Russia endure one of the worst economic shocks in its modern history. It saw the Russian central dank devalue the ruble and default on its debt.
Deripaska has proposed several steps for Russia to take in order to straighten things out and “start lifting the iron curtain again.”
“Step one is peace. Step two is launching an honest discussion of where we live, how we live, in what conditions, who is in charge of what, and who carries what risks,” suggested the aluminum tycoon, who obtained Cyprus citizenship in 2017.
Russia sent its troops to Ukraine last Thursday, saying it was the only way to stop the bloodshed in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and to prevent Ukraine from attempting to reclaim them by force.
According to Moscow, it had no intention of occupying its neighbor, but was seeking instead to “denazify” and “demilitarize” it. Kiev has denied harboring any plans to launch a full-scale assault on the two republics, and blames Russian for waging an unprovoked war against it.