Russian oligarchs, in very precarious position, call for immediate peace talks

Following a joint statement from the leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the White House announcing their plans for severe “economic sanctions and other financial and enforcement measures on additional Russian officials and elites close to the Russian government, as well as their families, and their enablers,” two Russian oligarchs have stepped forward to call for an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Mikhail Fridmin, co-founder of Alfa, Russia’s largest private bank, and Oleg Deripaska, founder of Russia’s Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum company, have both spoken out against the war in a move The Daily Mail calls “an unusual intervention from Russia’s leading business elite.”

In a letter to the staff of LetterOne, a private equity firm under Fridmin’s control, the billionaire called for an end to the “bloodshed,” writing: “I was born in Western Ukraine and lived there until I was 17. My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favorite city.”

“But I have also spent much of my life as a citizen of Russia, building and growing businesses. I am deeply attached to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both.”

Deripaska, instead, took to Telegram, to express his hope that peace talks would begin “as fast as possible.”

“Peace is very important,” Deripaska stated.

Russian oligarchs have found themselves in a very precarious position.

Just Saturday, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told the The Sunday Times that the Foreign Office is preparing a “hit list” of Russian elites they intend on targeting, stating, “We have to make it deeply painful for the oligarchs that support the Putin regime. There are over a hundred Russian billionaires.”

Truss said the Foreign Office would be sanctioning “new oligarchs every few weeks,” and warned, “Nothing is off the table in terms of who or what we are targeting.”

“We are very clear about that,” she continued. “We are very prepared to do what it takes.”

So, perhaps it is not surprising that two of Russia’s most powerful billionaires would like the whole Russia – Ukraine conflict to quickly go away.

The Russian Ruble is already in a freefall as global investors back away from Russian assets.

“Russia is simply unbankable at this stage and anyone holding Russian assets will find their book value marked at zero till we find a way out of this,” Saed Abukarsh, chief portfolio manager at Ark Capital Management Dubai Ltd. told Bloomberg. “The overall market is unprepared for the speed of developments since the inception of the war.”

On Sunday, oil giant BP announced it is pulling out of Russian energy company Rosneft, in which it holds a 19.75% stake, and its chief executive, Bernard Looney, is resigning from Rosneft’s board effective immediately. The move is directly related to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, according to a report from Fox Business.

In a statement, Looney said, “I am convinced that the decisions we have taken as a board are not only the right thing to do, but are also in the long-term intersts of BP. Our immediate priority is caring for our great people in the region and we will do our utmost to support them.”

If Fridmin and Deripaska are ringing any far-off bells for you, there’s a reason.

Both oligarch have been directly tied to the “Russia, Russia, Russia” plot against former President Donald Trump.

It was to Alpha bank that Trump’s servers were allegedly connected, providing Trump, according to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the now-indicted Michael Sussmann, with a “secret hotline” to Moscow.

And in October 2021, the FBI raided Oleg Deripaska’s Washington and New York homes. Deripaska at one time employed Paul Manafort, the chairman of Trump’s 2016 US presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, along the border with Belarus, peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are underway.

Melissa Fine


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