By Indira Guerrero
New Delhi, Aug 29 (EFE).- Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch under international sanctions, foresees that the war in Ukraine will end by May 2025.
However, the billionaire, sanctioned by the United States in 2018 for reasons related to the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and by the United Kingdom in 2022 for the invasion of Ukraine, did not provide a specific reason for proposing a timeline for the war to end.
However, he said the conflict would gradually de-escalate over the next 18 months due to diminishing troop numbers, as fewer soldiers will be willing to continue participating in the war, coupled with anticipated regime change in Ukraine.
In the 1990s, Deripaska emerged as a winner in Russia’s “aluminum wars” and became Russia’s richest man before losing much of his fortune in the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
Today, he is regarded as one of Moscow’s favored figures in the West. But he is known to make politically incorrect statement, occasionally, which contradict the Kremlin, unlike the Russian elite.
“A lot of politicians from both sides have invested so much of their political capital in the desired result of the war and still have public support within their national boundaries. That is why, unfortunately, war, conflict, and suffering will keep going,” Deripaska told EFE in the Indian capital.
He was in New Delhi for a Business 20 (B20) meeting, the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community.
The war will not be forever
At the beginning of the war, Deripaska called it “insane,” triggering an alarm that the Russian industrialists were not on the same page with President Vladimir Putin and that the chasm had come out in the open.
The Financial Times newspaper reported that the seizure of a hotel complex coincided with warnings from the Kremlin to “calm down” after Deripaska predicted that the Russian economy would collapse.
But a year and a half into the conflict, he now believes that the resilience of the Russian economy and the ineffectiveness of sanctions have been proven.
“My view (that) the Russian economy would collapse (was) based on the quick retreat of Western companies. And in reality, it was quite a small adjustment and only took, maybe, three-quarters to come back to a pre-crisis level,” he said.
Deripaska said Russia was now developing new logistics to reach Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Southeast Asia, which are Moscow’s main destinations for both exports and imports.
Is Russia still on the brink of collapse?
“No,” Deripaska said. “I kind of overestimated how severe the global impact of sanctions will be and…Western attempts to disrupt the Russian economy.”
The economic fallout hit Russia nearly immediately after the war in Ukraine began in February 2022.
Stringent sanctions against the Kremlin and its key industries, along with bans on Russian investments in several countries, exacerbated the fiscal deficit concurrently with Moscow’s increased defense expenditures.
Nevertheless, Deripaska affirmed that the impact of the sanctions has failed. “They are now more like an attempt to cut the tail of a snake that has already moved forward.” EFE