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Putin Acts to Calm Investors

Published: May 24, 2014 (Issue # 1812)



  • President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014 on Friday.
    Photo: Kremlin.ru

President Vladimir Putin attempted to reassure global business leaders — jittery over the US-led sanctions campaign against Russia — to stay in the country as he met with them at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Friday.

"Think of the benefits of working in Russia, don't give in to pressure and blackmail, and we will help you," Putin said at the 18th annual gathering, which saw a severely diminished showing by U.S. executives. Many of these ducked the forum at the request of Barack Obama's administration, which is intent on punish the Kremlin for its alleged meddling in the Ukraine conflict.

Putin, acknowledging that Russia's economic growth can no longer be driven by energy exports, outlined his strategy for the structural reform of the economy on Friday, focusing on massive infrastructure projects, the enhancement of human capital and financial and regulatory support of business by the state.

He has also answered the question on many minds in the run-up to the Ukrainian presidential elections this Sunday, hinting that he would recognize the new leadership in Kiev if it halts military action in Ukraine's maverick pro-Russian eastern provinces.

Lambasting the West, and primarily the United States, for disrespecting Russia's interests and snubbing Moscow's attempts to engage in dialog was another leitmotiv of Putin's 40-minute speech and the hour-long question and answer session that followed it.

Putin also downplayed the effect of the economic sanctions on Russia's economy, saying they target mainly his personal friends, and these had been shrewd enough businessmen to transfer their assets home in good time.

Reform Roadmap

The Kremlin's plan to revive the Russian economy, as presented by Putin Friday, sees non-energy exports growing by six percent each year, substitution of imported goods with domestic products, stimulating investment into modernization projects, improving professional education and easing labor market mobility.

"I will also send to parliament a package of bills aiming to ease procedures for registration of companies, getting licenses, customs procedures — all initially expected to pass in 2018 — by the end of this year," Putin said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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