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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, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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