Potanin: Confiscating assets of foreign companies would throw Russia back to 1917, better to give them opportunity to return
MOSCOW. March 10 (Interfax) - A cautious approach needs to be taken towards confiscating the enterprises of companies that have said they are pulling out of Russia, Vladimir Potanin, the head of Norilsk Nickel , said in comments distributed by the mining giant's press office.
"This would throw us back a hundred years, to 1917, and we would feel the consequences of such a move - global mistrust of Russia on the part of investors - for many decades to come," he said.
"The decision by many companies to suspend operations in Russia is, I would say, somewhat emotional in nature and may have been a result of unprecedented pressure on them from public opinion abroad. So they will come back, most probably. And personally, I would save such an opportunity for them," Potanin said.
"There have been well-known instances of nationalization - that is, buying enterprises from their owners and transferring them to the state - in recent history. This is a more civilized approach, which, as a rule, is used to restructure entire industries, often followed by privatization. So I'm not sure it would make sense to talk about nationalizing the assets of foreign companies today," he said.
Potanin said the Economic Development Ministry's proposal to install managers at those enterprises would be a more suitable measure. "That would enable owners to keep ownership of their enterprises and companies to avoid collapse, and to continue to produce goods and pay their staff," he said.