Putting tells Russia’s Billionaires Put Patriotism Before Profit

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President Vladimir Putin urged Russia’s billionaires on Thursday to put patriotism before profit, telling them to invest at home to shore up the economy in the face of Western sanctions.

Addressing Russia’s business elite in person for the first time since the day he sent his troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year, Putin told them their role was not just to make money but to support society.

A responsible entrepreneur is a real citizen of Russia, of his country, a citizen who understands and acts in its interests,” Putin said.

He does not hide assets offshore, but registers companies here, in our country, and does not become dependent on foreign authorities.

He hailed the “high mission” of entrepreneurs who looked after their workers and directed their talents not just towards extracting profit but also for the public good.

Billionaires Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Potanin, Alexei Mordashov, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg, Viktor Rashnikov, Andrei Melnichenko and Dmitry Mazepin – whose interests range from metals and banking to fertilisers – were among those in attendance at the gathering.

Putin said he wanted to hear their views on how to build a more dynamic economy that would lead to “a noticeable improvement in the quality of life of people across the country.

Though, welcomed with a standing ovation, he was delivering a tough message to Russia’s richest: that they need to think more about the needs of the country and less about their own bottom line.

Reuters/Shakirat Sadiq

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