- Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska (lead image, right), the Russian aluminium oligarch, saw red when Gennady Zyuganov (left), the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), declared in parliament that Deripaska was a swindler.

Deripaska, charged Zyuganov on January 9, had stolen the aluminium plants comprising United Company Rusal from their Russian owners and employees, and is now handing the company over to the US to save his profits from US sanctions. “The ambition of the Russian oligarchs for their profit looks more and more intransigent,” Zyuganov added, making the very first public attack by the Communist Party on the aluminium oligarch in twenty years.  

Deripaska sued Zyuganov in a Moscow city court for insulting his reputation and demanded Rb1 million ($15,380) in compensation.  The case commenced in Tverskoy district court on January 16, but was adjourned in February when lawyers for both sides asked for more time to prepare for trial in front of Judge Tatyana Melitina.  She withdrew from the case in March, and a new judge, Alexei Stekliev,  postponed the trial again to give himself more time to read the papers. He had withdrawn from the case this week when Judge Melitina returned.  

On Tuesday, Zyuganov’s lawyer, Dmitry Agranovsky, told Melitina that Zyuganov had assured  Deripaska there were no personal hard feelings,  signing an agreement to settle the case before trial. Deripaska let Zyuganov off having to pay the penalty.

The court refuses to release the official text of the agreement. So do spokesmen and lawyers for Deripaska and Zyuganov, as well as the Communist Party’s secretariat.

Rusal was silent, except for the release of its first-quarter financial report. This reveals sharp declines in sales revenues, earnings and profits.   The company blames US sanctions, together with “ongoing price uncertainty in the global aluminium market and continued US-China tensions.”

For the full report on Zyuganov’s original attack, click to read this. Deripaska’s Moscow court filing claimed Zyuganov’s parliamentary immunity and the freedom of speech for debate in the State Duma ought not to extend to “unfounded insults”. Zyuganov’s attack, alleged Deripaska, was intended “solely to attract public attention”. 

In parallel, Deripaska started a US federal court case challenging the US Government’s sanctions with the claim that they play into the hands of those in Russia, including the communists, who want to nationalize Rusal; for that court claim, read this

Through the Duma, Zyuganov has issued a request for an audit of Rusal’s tax payments between 2014 and 2018. The last one of those was in 2012.  Before that, the Accounting Chamber attempted to stop tax evasion schemes at Rusal in 2004, 2006, and 2009.   In the Duma at the time, Zyuganov and the KPRF did nothing to support the investigations of Rusal.  

This time round Zyuganov is calling for a commission of inquiry into the terms of control for Rusal which Deripaska has agreed with the US Treasury. Deripaska’s lawyers have lodged an application in court for Zyuganov to disclose his sources of income.

The lawyer’s table and crowded public benches in the Tverskoy courtroom during the February 26 hearing. Left, Denis Arkhipov, Deripaska’s lead lawyer from the firm of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev and Partners; at far right of the table, Zyuganov’s lawyer, Dmitry Agranovsky.  For details, read 

This week’s out-of-court agreement, according to one Moscow press version,  declares that Deripaska now accepts  Zyuganov’s assurance there had been nothing personal. “The businessman was satisfied with the explanation given by Gennady Zyuganov, the text of the agreement says. The politician said that he was not going to insult Deripaska or accuse him of committing crimes. ‘The statement has a collective character and expresses the personal opinion of the Respondent [Zyuganov] expressed during political discussion in the State Duma concerning an indefinite circle of the person and therefore doesn’t concern the personality of the claimant [Deripaska]’ — it is written in the document.”

Republishing this, Rospress added the note that Zyuganov had himself taken a critic to court for accusing the party of corruption.  In 2006 Rospress published a detailed report of the Communist Party’s dealings with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Potanin as well as others to whom the Party allegedly sold parliamentary seats; click to read.  This report alleged that at the time Zyuganov, his family and associates owned valuable real estate and other assets in Qatar, Libya, Lebanon, and Syria.

Agranovsky (right), Zyuganov’s lawyer,  has published  part of the agreement between Zyuganov and Deripaska. “The defendant [Zyuganov] explains that in his [January 9] Statement he had no intention to offend the plaintiff [Deripaska] or accuse him of committing any illegal actions. The statement is of a collective nature and expresses the personal opinion of the defendant, expressed during political debate in the State Duma in relation to an indefinite circle of persons, and therefore does not apply to the identity of the plaintiff.  The plaintiff accepts the explanations of the defendant and considers the dispute settled, and therefore waives the claim to the defendant for compensation for moral damage in the amount of 1,000, 000 (one million) rubles.”

“The settlement agreement does not contain any other restrictions or conditions for us. The parliamentary investigation [of Rusal] will continue. I am satisfied with the result of the case.”

Agranovsky was asked if  Zyuganov considers Deripaska’s acquisition of Rusal and his administration of the company before the sanctions acceptable to the KPFR.  He was also asked if the Communist Party supports nationalization of Rusal. Agranovsky has not replied.

The Party was asked the same questions. Its response is in this statement released on Tuesday evening.

“The headline reads: The case, ‘Deripaska versus Zyuganov’ is discontinued. The investigation of the Rusal case must go on.” Source:  https://kprf.ru/

According to the KPRF presidium, “during the first meeting of the State Duma in January this year, the Head of the Communist Party faction, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party,  G. A. Zyuganov,  expressed a sharp condemnation of the transfer of the aluminium industry of Russia under the direct control of US and UK citizens. And this decision really deserves the toughest condemnation, because one of the most strategically important sectors of our economy was directly  under the control of the US Government.”

“However, Mr. Deripaska took our principled position in defence of the country’s security as a personal insult. In this regard, he filed a lawsuit against the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, demanding compensation for the alleged damage to his honour and business reputation.”

“We have accepted this challenge. The team of lawyers of the Communist Party confidently worked out the first hearings in court, boldly and competently revealing the real economic and political background of the case, as well as the failure of the charges by Mr. Deripaska. We were ready to continue to defend our principled position in court with determination. However, the team of Mr. Deripaska made a proposal for a settlement agreement, recognizing the failure of their accusations.”

“It was easy to foresee that it would turn out that way. The people’s discontent with the unbridled enrichment of the oligarchy against the background of impoverishment of the entire population is growing. The trial, which reveals the circumstances and consequences of the seizure of gigantic public property by a handful of persons close to power, could be destructive both for the oligarchy and for the government itself.”

“The court proceeding may stretch for months, distracting the leadership of the party and our legal team from working in defense of the interests of the party and the people. We have no illusions about the verdict. It is clear that the current judicial system, which is fully subordinated to the oligarchic authorities, will not only not make an objective decision, but also will prevent our lawyers from revealing the deep roots of privatization, which is the basis of the current troubles of Russia.”

“On the other hand, we are convinced that the identification of the circumstances of the transition of huge national wealth in the aluminium industry and energy in private hands, and then under the control of states unfriendly to Russia, still deserves the most thorough investigation and appropriate measures to protect the national interests of Russia.”

“In this regard, without objecting to the termination of the trial in its current meaningless form, we continue to demand the establishment of a parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, which will have the necessary powers to deeply investigate the circumstances of the transition of the vital aluminium, oil and gas, coal, metallurgical and other industries of Russia, as well as its energy in the possession of individuals, and then actually under the control of foreign States.” 

Leave a Reply