Oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Oleg Deripaska call for an end to Putin’s war

CNN Business

Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Oleg Deripaska broke ranks with the Kremlin and called for an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Fridman, who was born in western Ukraine, wrote in a letter to staff that he wanted “the bloodshed to stop”.

“My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favorite city. But I also spent a large part of my life as a Russian citizen, creating and developing businesses. I am deeply attached to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and consider the current conflict a tragedy for both of them,” Fridman wrote.

“This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations that have been brothers for hundreds of years. While a solution seems awfully far away, I can only join those who long to see the bloodshed stop,” he added in the letter, which was provided by his office. The Financial Times was the first to report the letter.

Fridman is chairman of Alfa Group, a private conglomerate operating primarily in Russia and former Soviet states that covers banking, insurance, retail and mineral water production. Fridman has a net worth of $11.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

The billionaire is also chairman of Alfa Bank, Russia’s fourth-largest financial services company and its largest private bank. Alfa Bank was hit with sanctions last week that will prevent it from raising funds in the US market.

Fridman resigned from the Veon board on Tuesday,

an Amsterdam-based mobile network provider that generates half of its revenue in Russia.

Fridman’s call for peace was echoed by Deripaska, a billionaire who made his fortune in the aluminum business.

“Peace is very important! Negotiations must begin as soon as possible! Deripaska said in a post on Telegram on Sunday.

He also addressed the economic situation in a series of messages on Monday as the ruble tumbled and the Russian stock market did not open for trading.

“I really want clarity and intelligible commentary on economic policy for the next three months,” Deripaska said, adding that the central bank’s decision to dramatically raise interest rates and force companies to sell foreign currency is the “first test of who will actually pay for this banquet.

“We need to change economic policy, [we] need to end all this state capitalism,” he added.

Deripaska emerged from the chaotic scramble for assets after the collapse of the Soviet Union with a colossal fortune, which Forbes estimated at $28 billion in 2008. In 2018, he was sanctioned by the United States, which noted that the oligarch “does not separate from the Russian state”.

Oleg Deripaska at a corporate event in Russia on December 17, 2021.

Russian oligarchs are facing economic chaos and sanctions from the West after President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine last week. The United States and its allies, including the United Kingdom, responded by targeting wealthy people close to the Kremlin with sanctions.

The United States is even targeting the families of the oligarchs – a new step aimed at eroding support for Putin among the Russian elite. Last week, the US Treasury sanctioned the sons of two of Putin’s closest officials.

“Elites close to Putin continue to leverage their proximity to the Russian president to plunder the Russian state, enrich themselves and elevate their family members to some of the highest positions of power,” the Treasury Department said. by announcing the sanctions.

— Anna Stewart contributed to this article.

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