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Russia: ‘We have lived, are living and will continue to live under sanctions’ – Rotenberg *PARTNER CONTENT*

Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg
June 24, 2019 at 11:39 GMT +00:00 · Published

Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg said “we have lived, are living and will continue to live under sanctions,” speaking during an exclusive interview to RT’s SophieCo in Saint Petersburg released on Monday.

He went on to say that it is better to live with no sanctions, since it is “easier to do business,” adding, however, that he doesn’t “really care” about sanctions. “They are no obstacle to our work,” he concluded.

Rotenberg also mentioned that at some point, Russian businessmen thought that the situation in Russia “was unstable,” while “everything was good” abroad and “everyone wanted to do business in the Western world.”

“It turned out the opposite: someone came along and seized [businesses] there, blocked accounts, blocked everything. They sat and cried out,” Rotenberg described the situation after sanctions were imposed.

“We are fine. We have everything here, in Russia,” he concluded, adding “Everything we’re doing, we do for Russia. Our children live here, we are not going to move away.”

Rotenberg, 67, whose net worth is estimated at $2.6 billion by Forbes, was among the first wave of officials targeted by US and EU sanctions after Crimea re-joined Russia in 2014.

“I filed a lawsuit against sanctions. However, it happened before the construction of the bridge. At that time they didn’t have any grounds for sanctions. I won the case. They admitted that from 2014 to 2015, sanctions were imposed on me unlawfully,” he said.

He is often described as one of Vladimir Putin’s closest confidantes. The two men have known each other since they were children at the same judo club in what was then Leningrad.

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Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg said “we have lived, are living and will continue to live under sanctions,” speaking during an exclusive interview to RT’s SophieCo in Saint Petersburg released on Monday.

He went on to say that it is better to live with no sanctions, since it is “easier to do business,” adding, however, that he doesn’t “really care” about sanctions. “They are no obstacle to our work,” he concluded.

Rotenberg also mentioned that at some point, Russian businessmen thought that the situation in Russia “was unstable,” while “everything was good” abroad and “everyone wanted to do business in the Western world.”

“It turned out the opposite: someone came along and seized [businesses] there, blocked accounts, blocked everything. They sat and cried out,” Rotenberg described the situation after sanctions were imposed.

“We are fine. We have everything here, in Russia,” he concluded, adding “Everything we’re doing, we do for Russia. Our children live here, we are not going to move away.”

Rotenberg, 67, whose net worth is estimated at $2.6 billion by Forbes, was among the first wave of officials targeted by US and EU sanctions after Crimea re-joined Russia in 2014.

“I filed a lawsuit against sanctions. However, it happened before the construction of the bridge. At that time they didn’t have any grounds for sanctions. I won the case. They admitted that from 2014 to 2015, sanctions were imposed on me unlawfully,” he said.

He is often described as one of Vladimir Putin’s closest confidantes. The two men have known each other since they were children at the same judo club in what was then Leningrad.

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “Yes, of course, it is better to live with no sanctions. It’s easier to do business. They have a negative impact on business. Nevertheless, we have lived, are living and will continue to live under sanctions. We don’t really care about them. They are no obstacle to our work.”

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “I filed a lawsuit against sanctions. However, it happened before the construction of the bridge. At that time they didn’t have any grounds for sanctions. I won the case. They admitted that from 2014 to 2015, sanctions were imposed on me unlawfully.”

SOT, Correspondent (Russian): “That is they admitted unlawful sanctions, but didn’t pay any sum of money or returned assets to you?” UPSOUND

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “Yes, they officially admitted it; it was officially announced in court that it was done illegally. However, we started constructing the bridge in 2015 and they, in that manner, prolonged the sanctions and they had come in force.”

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “I believe that it is like giving birth to a child. We gave birth to the bridge. It is my child. We might give birth to something else. Let’s assume that I have many ‘children’ and how can I love one child more than another? I must love them all equally.”

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “The bridge has great importance for Russia, that’s why it had been constructed in such conditions. The construction had been started four times but wasn’t completed. The rhetoric appeared to be like this. We have very many projects. We are looking at it. I wouldn’t like to say, however, we have a dream and we will work towards it.”

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “Our people are smart enough, I think. We’ve never been lacking in mathematicians, software engineers, physicists or anyone else for that matter, so we have what it takes to develop. We just need to do one little thing here: eliminate competition because everyone is looking out for their own interests. Someone has something small and wants to keep it for themselves. We need to do the opposite, unite people.”

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “It happened so. At some point, everyone thought there was a honey pot abroad. Everyone thought that the situation here was unstable, while everything was good there and everyone wanted to do business in the Western world, since someone could come along one day and seize your business. It turned out the opposite: someone came along and seized [businesses] there, blocked accounts, blocked everything. They sat and cried out. We are fine. We have everything here, in Russia.”

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “Something we did there… We came by ourselves. The president didn’t say: ‘Come here, can you build it? If you can’t, we will cut your hands off.’ No, he warned us, instead: ‘Listen, and take this and that into account.’”

SOT, Arkady Rotenberg, businessman (Russian): “You know, everything we’re doing, we do for Russia. Our children live here, we are not going to move away. Why not to build? The state gave you everything. Generally, you earned money here. Many people, oligarchs, for instance, when I talk to them, say: ‘Well, we’ve made this money here, during the time when the president is in office. Where should we put it? He doesn’t say: ‘Give it.’ We want to invest here, or there.”

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