The Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska called the government today to stop interfering in business and instead create a predictable rule-of-law environment to re-attract foreign investors to Russia’s sanctions-hit economy.

The billionaire told an economic forum in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk that does not expect a “de-escalation” in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine before mid-2025 at the earliest and that Western investors may not return for a decade.

Deripaska stated that Russia it should and can still attract investors from “friendly” countries – those that have not joined Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine – but he was scathing about the business climate in an economy that the Kremlin is increasingly trying to focus on the war effort.

Russia’s richest businessmen – a group often referred to as oligarchs – have generally kept a low profile since the invasion, so Deripaska’s public criticism of the government is unusual.

“I’m constantly very concerned that the state and business are constantly pitted against each other,” he said, questioning why the state needs “two prosecutors and four inspectors for every businessman.”

The 55-year-old founder of aluminum giant Rusal, which has faced Western sanctions over perceived ties to the Kremlin, has previously complained about the impact on the Russian economy of a military campaign, the value of which he has questioned.

The invasion, in addition to driving out Western businesses and investors, had the effect of disrupting supply chains, removing hundreds of thousands of fighting-age men from the economy, and cutting Russian businesses off from Western technology.

“The rule of law and predictability are very important. If we change the rules of the game every year or quarter, nobody will have confidence: neither Russian businessmen nor foreigners,” he said according to the Interfax news agency.

“We won’t have to make a choice. There will be no money next year. We will need foreign investors. And they will look to see what the Russian investors earn, what conditions they have.”

The Russian economy is set to shrink by 2.9% this year, according to the ministry’s official forecasts, with analysts expecting a further contraction in 2023 and saying Russia’s medium-term growth potential could be as little as 1%.

Preliminary Russian data say the economy, which before the war was forecast to grow by 3%, shrank by 2.1% last year. Ratings agency Moody’s predicted this week that national output would contract by 3% this year – below the central bank’s forecast of -1% to +1%.