Russian oligarch warns his country could be broke by 2024

Brother, can you spare a ruble?

Oligarch Oleg Deripaska told attendees at an economic summit in Siberia that Russia could be out of money by 2024.

“There will already be no money next year,” he said, according to the Moscow Times. “We will need foreign investors.”

The 55-year-old billionaire industrialist has close ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who ordered troops into Ukraine in 2022 for a war that’s become unexpectedly complex. Deripaska has been critical of that invasion, which caused multiple countries, including the U.S., to sanction Russia.

He said in Siberia that Russia can’t expect to be made a part of the international community once more if the government continues “barbaric, Stone Age practices of imprisoning every other person for nothing.”

Among the activities getting people arrested in Russia are protests over the war. The United Nations expressed concern in 2022 over “credible reports” of thousands of demonstrators being incarcerated.

Deripaska’s investments include an aluminum company that was once the world’s largest. His wealth took a “major hit from Western sanctions,” according to the Moscow Times. Forbes puts his worth slightly under $3 billion. Deripaska was reportedly, at one point, the richest man in Russian and one of the 10 wealthiest people in the world.

He complained of “state capitalism” and called for “more freedom” during his address in Siberia.

It’s rare for Deripaska to criticize Putin, though he called the destruction of Ukraine “a mistake.”

Numerous U.S. companies stopped doing business with Russia including McDonald’s, which shutdown its 850 stores there after war erupted in Ukraine. New York State said in February 2022 it would no longer do business with companies headquartered in or run from Russia.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in December the Russian economy was holding-up better than expected, but faces “a decade of regress” starting with development going into reverse over the next three to five years.

That report said that “amid the atmosphere of uncertainty, investment is at risk of being slashed” and that private investors were already shying away from Russia’s “unfavorable business climate.”