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Russian tycoon says time to end ‘state capitalism’ in Russia

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska speaks to media in front of the office of Gorkovsky Automobile Plant (GAZ) in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia April 16, 2019. REUTERS-Maxim Shemetov

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska on Monday said it was time to put an end to “all this state capitalism” and change policies as the country’s economy reeled from the effects of Western sanctions over Moscow’s assault on Ukraine.

“It is necessary to change the economic policy, it is necessary to end all this state capitalism,” Deripaska said on messaging app Telegram, demanding “explanations” from officials on what was going to happen to the economy in the next three months.

“If this is a real crisis then we need real crisis managers and not fantasists with a bunch of silly presentations,” said the 54-year-old.

“Unlike in 2014, it will not be possible to sit this out now,” Deripaska said, referring to Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and the subsequent introduction of Western sanctions.

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The billionaire owner of Premier League football club Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, has been involved in ending the crisis, his spokeswoman said.

“I can confirm that Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution and that he has been trying to help ever since,” she said.

“Considering what is at stake, we would ask for understanding as to why we have not commented on neither the situation as such nor his involvement.”

The Russian-Israeli billionaire announced on Saturday that he was handing the “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to the trustees of the club’s charitable foundation. But he will remain as owner.

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Another billionaire, banker Oleg Tinkov, spoke out directly against the war.

“In Ukraine, innocent people are dying every day, this is unthinkable and unacceptable!” he said on Instagram.

“States should be spending money on treating people, on research to defeat cancer, and not on war. We are against this war!”

As Western governments tighten their squeeze on Russia’s economy following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, capitals also have their sights on Moscow’s wealthy elite and its assets abroad, seen by experts as a way of sapping President Vladimir Putin’s power.

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