Apr 20, 2021
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Deripaska is confused about the number of poor in Russia

Photo: Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska

In the photo: Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska (Photo: Sergey Savostyanov / TASS)

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, which has recently made a lot of loud statements, this time decided to argue with Rosstat about the number of poor in Russia.

“They are trying to convince us that the number of Russians whose incomes are below the subsistence level is 17.8 million people. In fact, there are about 80 million citizens with such incomes in our country “, – he wrote in his Telegram channel, which was immediately replicated by the media.

Thus, one of the richest people in the country commented on the data of the main statistical office about the fall in the poverty level in Russia to the minimum since 2014. At the same time, Deripaska accused officials of juggling numbers and manipulating statistics.

However, after a while, the harsh post was removed, and a new entry appeared in its place, which notes that the government implemented large-scale programs to support workers and small businesses during the pandemic. Just miracles of some kind of reincarnation from a hero-accuser into an affectionate fairy, demonstrating extraordinary flexibility of the spine!

“The President of the Russian Federation regularly pays attention to supporting pensioners and low-income people. But without a radical correction of the monetary policy and the creation of conditions for project financing, the country will not be able to take the next step in the fight against poverty “– wrote the billionaire.

It is difficult to say what made Mr. Deripaska change his mind so quickly. Possibly a remark from the presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who noticed that Rosstat operates with a large array of verified data. Although Deripaska himself is considered by the Kremlin representative to be an experienced entrepreneur and a major employer.

– In my subjective opinion, Oleg Vladimirovich gets bored from time to time, – said economic expert Leonid Khazanov… – He, probably, is less and less interested in doing the affairs of the companies belonging to him, he, like all ordinary mortal people, is inexorably aging and quite possibly afraid that he will be forgotten.

They will not forget. It is unlikely that our people will be able to forget someone like Oleg Deripaska even in 100 years. I won’t be surprised at all that legends will be made about him over time.

That is why it is possible that he tries to periodically remind about himself, so as not to be forgotten. Or it may be trying to form an image of a businessman who is wise in life, who in his heart cares about the present and future of Russia.

In my humble opinion, it doesn’t work out very well for him … Well. I do not associate Oleg Deripaska with Savva Mamontova, Pavel Tretyakov or Savva Morozov… For me they are the pride of our great country, Deripaska is not.

“SP”: – What this time Rosstat did not please Deripaska?

– Probably, Oleg Vladimirovich is tired of criticizing the Bank of Russia and its head Elvira Nabiullina, so I decided to switch to Rosstat. Who else could he blame? Federal Antimonopoly Service? Law enforcement agencies? Government?

It is unlikely that he will dare to criticize them, realizing what it is fraught with. Rosstat in our country is kicked by everyone who is not lazy, including those who are not at all familiar with the basics of statistics. This is probably why Oleg Deripaska “caught” Rosstat in juggling with numbers. Along the way, he found the threat of a coup d’etat in China.

I personally have a question for him: are the 80 million Russians with incomes below the subsistence level mentioned by him, the employees of his aluminum plants or not? If not, then are they middle-class or rich? If they do, what did Oleg Deripaska do to improve their standard of living? Does he even know how much an electrolysis worker or a caliper actually gets?

“SP”: – Why did Deripaska still change his anger to mercy?

– I admit that he did this after the words of the press secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov about the amount of data that Rosstat operates and the use of it by the government of our country. Indeed, if you follow Oleg Deripaska’s words about “juggling” with Rosstat figures, it turns out that the government is pursuing an economic policy based on inaccurate information. As I said, quarreling with the government is not profitable for him.

In general, I think that everyone should mind their own business. Rosstat collect, process and analyze data on the socio-economic situation in the country, entrepreneurs – to develop their business (of course, they are not prohibited from doing statistics for their own purposes).

Maybe Oleg Vladimirovich should still pay more attention to his own companies. I would not be surprised if, upon a detailed study of the state of affairs in them, he finds a lot of interesting things.

Personally, I can even meet with him at my leisure and discuss the prospects for the development of Rusal and the aluminum industry in Russia: if he wants to and if someone from his entourage dares to show him your publication.

Expert of the PRISP Center, Ph.D. Nikolay Ponomarev believes that Oleg Deripaska’s statement is unlikely to be related to his plans to engage in public politics.

– He has sufficient resources to lobby for his own interests through the MPs or civil servants associated with him, or through direct negotiations with decision-makers. Participation in public politics is in the end fraught with unnecessary risks. Money loves silence.

The billionaire’s behavior can be attributed to two factors. On the one hand, he is well aware of the situation in the economy and himself is one of the “victims” of the existing economic model and foreign policy course. Since 2010, the fortune of the once richest man in Russia has decreased by more than 2 times. He personally received a black mark from the Western elites in the form of being included in the sanctions lists, which made it much more difficult for Deripaska to do business. Probably, the accumulated irritation could result in not well thought out statements.

On the other hand, he could act quite pragmatically. The declaration of indirect criticism of the authorities could play the role of a tool to detach from the image of the “Kremlin oligarch” in the eyes of the Western public. We must not forget that, in general, Deripaska is characterized by a fairly high level of empathy, especially in comparison with most of his “colleagues in the shop”. And, at least in part, he could sincerely express dissatisfaction with the situation in the country. No matter how fantastic it may sound at first glance.

“SP”: – What is the reason for the change in the post? With a comment from the Kremlin?

– The reaction of the billionaire in response to comments from the Kremlin is understandable. Deripaska may be dissatisfied with the actions of the system, but at the same time he remains part of it. Moreover, its role in its structure is far from being really oligarchic. Like many big businessmen, he is more likely to be the owner of the “label of reign”, which can easily be lost in the event of an “open rebellion” against the system. Deripaska is embedded in the hierarchy, and he was gently given to understand that he allowed himself a liberty that does not correspond to his status.

Political scientist Marat Bashirov believes that Oleg Deripaska’s remark regarding Rosstat data may be a “fair story.” He recalled that according to the calculations of Rosstat, there were many comments.

– The method is important: how Rosstat believed and how Deripaska believed. If he got 80, then he obviously did not take it out of his head, but took some threshold, some criteria. They are obviously different from Rosstat.

I would not pay attention to different numbers, because you can count in different ways. Maybe for Rosstat the poor are those who earn less than 300 thousand a month, and for Deripaska – those who are less than 20 thousand. The technique is important, which we do not see.

“SP”: – Why did the fast soften after a few hours?

– It is true that the government does a lot in social policy. Because of this, perhaps, Mr. Deripaska ultimately decided not to argue over the method.

“SP”: – What is the reason for its activity lately?

– This kind of expertise should only be welcomed, because large entrepreneurs have been sitting here for a long time and are silent, although what the government is doing in economic policy concerns them directly.

I would like a wider circle to speak out, otherwise everyone is hiding behind the master’s back Shokhin, which represents the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs – Auth.). But he cannot act as a media figure on all fronts. What Deripaska is doing is good, bad that the rest are silent.

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