Deripaska urges Russia to ‘Fix Economy’ after Putin criticism

Deripaska urges Russia to ‘Fix Economy’ after Putin criticism
Published: 17 June 2009

Oleg Deripaska, the Russian billionaire rebuked by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for wage arrears, said the government should do more to improve the economy if it wants businesses to succeed.

The onus is on state officials to help revive demand as the economy shrinks for the first time in a decade, Deripaska told Associated Press Television in an interview yesterday. Russian industrial production contracted a record 17.1 percent in May from a year earlier.

“The government better focus” on stimulating growth and then “we will run our company,” Deripaska said during a tour of his OAO GAZ light-vehicle maker’s main factory in Nizhny Novgorod, where production has been curtailed to one shift a day. “I would like the government to fix the economy.”

Putin, 56, publicly rebuked Deripaska, 41, earlier this month for wage arrears at a cement plant he controls and said the state will take over factories when owners fail to keep them open. Dmitry Medvedev, who succeeded Putin as president last year, said this week that owners who idle factories on slumping sales should be “educated” by local governors.