Vladimir Potanin finds it difficult to understand that Western sanctions are spoiling the luxury life of some Russian oligarchs. The billionaire businessman and Putin confidant has so far remained completely unaffected by the coercive measures.
Vladimir Potanin is considered one of the forefathers of oligarchism: the 61-year-old businessman is worth $17.3 billion. As a businessman loyal to the Kremlin, it is reasonable to assume that he is also affected by the sanctions imposed by the West. In fact, Potanin has so far been spared the coercive measures. He didn’t even have to duck away from the patrons – they circumnavigated him extensively themselves.
According to “Finanztrends”, this is mainly due to his mining company Norilsk Nickel – a group of great importance for the global metal raw materials market. The Siberian company produces five percent of the nickel produced worldwide, which is required in particular for battery production. Norilsk Nickel is also one of the most important producers of palladium, which is used in the production of semiconductors and catalysts, among other things. The metal’s market share of 40 percent speaks for itself. The company also mines cobalt, gold and copper.
So are the western sanctions sparing Potanin and his mining company in Siberia in order not to further escalate the already horrendous metal prices and supply bottlenecks? At least that’s what insiders suspect.
The supposed moral dilemma of the West plays well into the hands of the oligarch, who, according to the FAZ, has been loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin since the beginning of his political career and is considered a loyal financier. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, he has not only acquired the Russian branch of the US payment service provider Global Payments, but also Rosbank. This had previously belonged to the major French bank Société Générale and was owned by Potanin after their withdrawal from Russia.
After all: Potanin lost about ten billion dollars of his assets due to the war – if it were on the sanctions list, his balance sheet would probably look much worse.
The extremely wealthy Russian, who also held the post of deputy prime minister for two years under Boris Yeltsin, is familiar with banking. Towards the end of the Soviet Union, he created the trading company Interros from scratch, and a little later he founded the bank Onexim.
He also appeared when the cash-strapped Russian state was looking for investors who would grant it credit after the collapse of the Eastern bloc. Potanin let the ruble roll for Russia and in return received vouchers for shares in state-owned companies. He never saw his money again, so he redeemed the security note and secured a 38 percent stake in the said mining company with a business partner. It should be a real lucky draw.