Putin: “Russia is moving in the right direction, but slowly”

According to the latest ranking of Forbes, Vladimir Potanin and Vladimir Yevtushenkov has a total of more than $ 17 billion. Journalist Le Soir spoke with both the oligarchs.

Forbes recently published a new list of billionaires, however, the 56-year-old Vladimir Potanin, frequenter compiled by us magazine dozens of the largest Russian oligarchs, says that for a long time does not pay attention to the rating. “The last time I watched it two years ago! recently he told the journalist of Le Soir in the private restaurant on the Moscow headquarters of Norilsk Nickel. The son was six years old. He flipped through the Forbes house and saw me in 90th place in the world list. Then he asked: “Daddy, that bad?..”

Since then, the case of Vladimir Potanin is very nice. It occupies the 77th place among the billionaires in the world and eighth in Russia with a fortune of $ 14 billion, according to the latest estimates Forbes. Anyway, in the closed club of oligarchs, this rating is long is just a joke. “As we say, if you’re in the Forbes list, you do not need to work, but if not, then work hard — he sneers. — I never held in my hands the 14 billion. This is a subjective calculation”.

$ 100 billion per year

The overall condition of hundred richest Russians now stands at $ 460 billion, which is 100 billion more than a year ago. The fact that the oligarchs, led by Leonid Mikhelson (the main shareholder of the gas company “NOVATEK” and petrochemical holding “SIBUR”), whose fortune is estimated at $ 18 billion, fully benefiting from the rise of the Russian economy and especially financial markets. It looks like they turn the page two years of recession, which was caused by falling oil prices and a strengthened Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis. Vladimir Potanin is confident that the country really started to get out of the crisis. “This year, we, no doubt, will increase by 1%. However, for a real exit from the crisis and the solutions to our problems would require several years of sustained growth of 3-4%. It will be possible in two to three years. This requires a rise in oil prices, as well as reducing bureaucracy, easing rules for businesses, lower interest rates, construction of new infrastructure,” — said the speaker for the reform of the oligarch.

“Russia is moving in the right direction, but slowly. Need to do a little progress every day, like athletes in training,” explains this big fan of hockey, skiing, kayaking, surfing and running. External irony of Vladimir Potanin hiding the irritation at the lack of real reforms in recent years, the government of Vladimir Putin. “I’ve known him since the 1990s when he worked in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office. He knows how to listen. At the meetings it is always possible to Express their concerns and opinions,” he said.

Anyway, Vladimir Potanin, a staunch supporter of the Kremlin, not involved in politics and refrained from talking about her, although he was Deputy Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin. “Western sanctions have a negative impact on Russia and on those who received them. As often happens in our history, Western sanctions are perceived as unfair, and they strengthened the internal unity of our country. This is due formed around Vladimir Putin’s patriotism. I consider myself a patriot, but open to criticism of our country,” says the oligarch, who rarely gives interviews and uncertainly feels in the presence of the press. “Usually, I do drink tea, but when we meet a journalist, then lean on coffee,” he jokes.

The oligarch with the “simple” way of life

68-year-old Vladimir Yevtushenkov is also kept away from media and politicians and almost never gives interviews. In his spacious office in the centre of Moscow, he gently but vigorously talks about holding “the System”, which is usually not too popular among the oligarchs sectors: mobile operator MTS, a network of “Intourist” clinic “Medsi”, agriculture, timber industry group “Segezha”… He works every day, which is exhausting his family and employees. “I like the pace,” he smiles. Unlike most oligarchs, he has no boat, he leads “a simple life”. According to him, is “a few residences, but without unnecessary luxury.”

Despite the warnings of the press Secretary and lawyers, Vladimir Yevtushenkov happy talking about just not coming in 2014, the end of his group and state: then were brought against him the charges and he was detained. Yevtushenkov was suspected of money-laundering during the purchase of Bashneft. Since it has been under recognizance not to leave (with the obligatory wearing of an electronic bracelet), and a circle of friends limited family members and lawyers. The present humiliation for the billionaire. It is believed that the state company Rosneft, headed by close ally of Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin, then secretly tried to seize Bashneft. In order to avoid court Yevtushenkov offered a compromise: freedom in exchange for an assignment of oil assets.

It cost him dearly. After the assignment of Bashneft and the associated impact on the remaining assets of his condition decreased significantly: if in 2014 he was ranked 15th in the list of richest Russians (nine billion dollars), now it is 31st in Russia and 544th in the world ($3.5 billion), according to Forbes. Anyway, consent to the contract was the right decision: its holding company got the payment, and accusations of money laundering were dropped. And, most importantly, Yevtushenkov was released. He looks at the incident as a fatalist and satisfied with a simple “it is what it is”. He is convinced that “similar cases occur across the country.” If he made mistakes? “A lot. But I’m not going to talk about them, it’s personal,” he says. However, he admits that then he was thrown into a cold sweat: “Any normal person scared. Whoever says the opposite is lying. Then all adapt, and the fear disappears. Each at their own pace. I have all happened quickly.”