November 17th, 2011
06:32 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian business is dominated by a handful of men known simply as the oligarchs.

In the 1990s many of them carved up Russia’s newly privatized state-owned assets. Huge fortunes were built as the Red Empire collapses around them, and Russian oligarchs joined the world’s super rich.

Among them is Oleg Deripaska. He was still a student at the start of the 1990s, but his rise was meteoric. By the end of the decade, the nuclear physics graduate from Moscow State University controlled most of Russia’s aluminum industry and his company, Rusal, is now the world’s biggest producer.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, he talks about the role of Russia in the EU crisis, and whether Russia is underperforming the rest of the developing world.

“No, never,” said Deripaska, asked whether Russia should help the debt-laden eurozone.

“Russia should deal with our own problem – lack of infrastructure, development in Siberia and the Far East, more emphasis on agriculture and development of agricultural food processing,” he said. “Europe will benefit from our strong market and our opportunity to invest in Russia.”

He points out that the Russian economy is on track for more than 4 percent growth this year, and a government debt to GDP ratio that stands below 12%, and total foreign debt to GDP ratio that is below 30%.

“We have quite good numbers in many basic industries – for example, the number of cars produced in Russia this year doubled,” Deripaska said.

Asked whether the Russian economy is underperforming compared to India and China, he points out that Russia was more exposed to the 2009-2009 financial crisis, but recapitalized banks point to a stronger economy in 2012-2013.

The growth of the Asian titans will ultimately help Russia, he said.

“With China we have our longest border, more than 2000 kilometers,” he said. “It’s not just China – Asia is a very important partner for us to develop our Siberian and eastern territories.”

Filed under: BusinessGlobal Exchange

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Pyotr

    When will you americans finally learn how to pronounce Russian names?. I almost did't realize about whom yoa are talking about, when I listen to your programs

    November 17, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  2. Frank

    How funny! When are we going to see an article: Consolidation of American Oligarchs?

    November 17, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  3. Semyon

    To Pyotr...

    Why don't you check out Sound Smart Training in search engines? It was specifically designed for Russian people to teach themselves to better understand real world spoken English. No nonsense approach. Works each time for everyone. It also improves pronunciation patterns to a certain degree.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  4. delta_v

    shoot, I SPEAK Russian (fluently), have a Russian wife, and still cannot pronounce correctly many Russian names. Heck, even Russians don't always know how names are pronounced. IVANov? IvanOV? ShKAPlerov, or ShkaplERov? Often, it is the family that determines the pronunciation.

    So, Pyotr, when you all sort our your own pronunciations, then come talk to us. Pristavlaesh?

    November 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  5. to semyon

    is that sound smart made by americans? if so it also contains fake Russian names. Americans cant say it right, even in their educational programs. you americans need to open Wikipedia and see how to pronounce each individual person name before trying to say something Russian

    November 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  6. Garry

    I don't care about the pronunciation too much; most of Russians do it wrong with English names as well. My major concern is that this”businessman” calls reputation of Russian oligarchs emerged in 1990-s – white as a blank sheet of paper. Unbelievable!!! It simply cannot be any farther from the truth as it gets in this statement. Russian speaking audience is laughing everywhere on the net where this subject is discussed. Now I wonder, if these oligarchs have snow-white wings on their backs…

    November 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  7. Kon

    delta, next time you get a mail order bride, get one that has a little more education, she can teach you how to pronounce correctly. Ponimayesh?

    November 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Aaron Smith

    Kon, you are a bigot and your assumption only proves you are an elitist... USSR is gone and Russia is only beginning to churn up their government – the USSR is so vain and that is why they will never have the warm water ports they need to actually grow.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  9. Nikko

    Mr. Deripaska makes a good face in a poor game, talking about Russian economy. It is as good as good are the oil and gas prices. Problems in EU are transient – problems in Russia are chronic.
    "The number of cars produced has doubled last year" – WOW! Yes, doubled from nearly zero, very impressive growth.
    Yes, Mr. Deripaska, your are right – Russia has a strong, diversified economy, and will never never help poor Europe in its stupid crisis. We are boldly looking forward to become partners of India and China, these two super-industrial first-class economies. Good luck, Mr. Deripaska.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  10. Argum

    The acrimony here is inconsistent with a civilized dialogue between otherwise intelligent people. Please, demonstrate a livelier level of debate in more cheerful ways.

    November 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  11. Nikko

    2 Argum: I am sorry for my acrimony, but statements of Mr. Deripaska are so absurd that can not be discussed seriously.
    Russian GDP is 0.075 of EU's GDP, that is 7.5%. Does EU really needs help of Russia? Probably not. But Mr. Deripaska has a pleasure to say "We will never help them". Of course, not. Because they don't need such help.

    November 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  12. worldly

    Pronunciation is irrelevent as it will be a recurring problem anytime a person tries to pronounce any name or word from a country with a different language. It is commonly called an 'accent'. It is derived from the speaker's native language that suggests what each letter should sound like. This will always be as long as there are different languages in the world. Do not take offense to this, as it is not done to slight anyone.
    I congratulate all the native Russians on this post on your english ability. I do not mind at all the occasional missing article or incorrect pronoun. I accept that as a result of learning a language with the normal prejudice of the original language.
    Let's all remain friends.....

    November 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  13. Inga


    November 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  14. JCNelson

    Plus, Pyotr, the speaker isn't one of "you Americans". People who pronounce "nuclear" as "nookyaler" can't even speak their own mother tongue right. If you want to read or hear literate people, don't hang around CNN.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  15. Dmitry

    Garry, you got the point! Pronunciation is an irrelevant to this, declaration (or was it a joke?) about clean and white reputation was shocking! The guy says about regular things but looks very aggressive... Hate to say this but this is very common style of my fellow countrymen when they talk with foreign interviewers.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  16. Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich

    If what you said about wife and speak russian fluently is true, and stil youl can't correctly pronounce russian names, than i can say your IQ is about 70 or you have a serious problem with your head. sorry.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  17. icons set

    You are not right. I am assured. I can prove it.

    October 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

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