Deripaska Says Justice System Didn't 'Work Properly' for Pussy Riot

Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's most influential businessmen, in an interview with the Financial Times criticized Russia's judicial system and economic policy while reiterating his firm support of President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking about Russia's judicial system in an interview published Sunday, Deripaska highlighted its ills by pointing to the Pussy Riot scandal. If the juridical system had "worked properly," he said, the three punk band members would have only been sentenced to 15 days' community service.

Instead, the judicial system put them through a long trial that had to end up with a real sentence in order to be justified. Alternatively, as Deripaska put it, "someone had to cover their [expletive.]"

As the chief executive of Rusal, the world's largest aluminum company, Deripaska lambasted Russia's monetary policy, saying that "Russia will not get any benefit out of World Trade Organization membership unless we pay attention to these issues — the cost of capital and interest [rates]."

The country's banking sector has to be thoroughly reformed, he added, to make loans more accessible to medium and small-scale enterprises, especially in the regions.

Another predicament for economic growth, according to Deripaska, is the rising cost of energy. Referring to the fact that the price of Russian natural gas is now nearly double that in the U.S., he blamed Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom for the situation.

As for the challenge of eradicating corruption in Russia, Deripaska was pessimistic. "There is not enough prison capacity to fight corruption," he said.

Despite being critical of the Russian state and economy, Deripaska confirmed his support of President Putin. "If there would be no Putin, who would run the country now? Of course not Kasparov," he said, referring to the former World Chess Champion and now prominent opposition leader.

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