Russia has not caught up with developed countries after the collapse of the USSR due to the fact that the reforms proposed during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, “not found response in the hearts of Russians”. This is Michael Friedman said during a conversation with Anatole Kalecki, which is published on the website of the investment company LetterOne.
The billionaire said that in the late 80’s-early 90-ies of the Western investors told him that Russia will quickly reach the level of developed countries at the expense of the educated population, large amount of natural resources and technological advances in the military and the energy sector. However, according to Friedman, this did not happen.
Co-owner of “Alfa Group” explained that “mindset” and culture of people of Russia “is not based on a piece of paper called a law.” “They are based on the history, traditions, beliefs, religion, which hundreds and hundreds of years,” said Friedman.
The billionaire said that he, as “a cosmopolitan man” who travels all the time, he knows that “a culture cannot change quickly.” According to him, it is possible to choose a new leader, but if his own culture is not respected by society, changes that he will propose, will be temporary and artificial.
Friedman stressed that the freedom of speech, media freedom, democracy, the electoral system, such a thing as privatization, “is very vulnerable in Russia”. “Why? Not because [Russian President] Vladimir Putin offers a new form of law, according to here in the West, but because of those reforms, which held Boris Yeltsin, never found response in the hearts of Russians”, — said the billionaire.
Mikhail Fridman, according to Forbes, ranks second among Russia’s richest men with a fortune of $13.3 billion. Its main assets — the share in “the alpha-Groups” and LetterOne Holdings.