RUSSIA: Deripaska insists Russia in "transition" not crisis
Oleg Derispaska (4R) addressing SPIEF 2015 delegates: session was broadcast live on CNBC
GAZ Group owner, Oleg Deripaska refutes the commonly-held view Russia is gripped by crisis, but acknowledges the myriad challenges the country faces.
Addressing a packed conference with virtually standing room only at the recent Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the tycoon made his comments flanked on a stellar panel by luminaries including Russian Economics Minister, Alexei Ulyukayev and Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov, as well as PWC chairman, Dennis Nally.
But the GAZ chief took issue with the panel's theme: "Never let a good crisis go to waste," insisting Russia would eventually come through the undoubtedly challenging current economic and political period.
Western capitals have vented their fury on Moscow for what they see as its unwarranted involvement in Eastern Ukraine as well as the de facto annexation of Crimea - moves which have triggered punitive sanctions which are genuinely hurting the country.
"We are not in crisis, we are in transition," said Deripaska, adding: "It may take a couple of years [but] the most important thing is to find a political resolution.
"It is a major shock for the markets, the dispute with the West and Ukraine."
Deripaska, who is is reputedly worth billions of pounds, also broadened the debate, urging Moscow to examine the potential opening up of assets held in Kremlin hands.
"There [are] many assets in State companies, which could be offloaded," he said. "We could create opportunities for SMEs.
"There are some areas where we can see tremendous progress - in tax [for example]."
Deripaska, who owns a multitude of businesses in Russia including manufacturing, energy, metals, airports, financial services and construction, made his mark as the Soviet Union collapsed and a new Russia emerged.
"I started my business at an unusual time," he said previously. "The country in which I was born and grew up in had disappeared and a new one had not appeared by that time.
"The first one gave me an excellent education; the second one gave me the chance of success."
Deripaska maintains the need for investment in Russia, for example in developing regional infrastructure, specifically in Eastern Siberia and the Far East, while also championing the role of the Central Bank to make loans more accessible.