29 March 2017
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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

06.03.2017

The growing Russian economy is increasingly open for business (article by Ambassador Yakovenko for The Daily Telegraph, 6 March 2017)

Tough challenges, including weak global growth, low energy prices and Western sanctions have been used by the Russian Government as incentives to make difficult, but sound decisions to keep our economy in shape. Most of the problems have been overcome, and we have adapted to the new, tougher trade and economic environment, that some call deglobalisation.

While Russia’s GDP fell by 3.7pc in 2015, last year the contraction was insignificant (0.2pc), and we witnessed a transition to growth already in the third quarter of 2016. Now experts have to admit that the results surpass most predictions, and fundamentals of the Russian economy have strengthened. GDP is expected to grow between 1 and 2pc this year.

The Russian Government has been working hard to minimise negative external effects and to secure a structural transformation of the economy. A well-timed anti-crisis programme was launched and has proved successful. The Government is actively scaling down the dependence on commodities and implementing structural reforms. We have maintained macroeconomic stability, preserved and even enlarged our financial reserves. As of 1 January 2016, the reserves stood at around $370 bn, and now there are almost $400 bn.

Public debt is low. Obligations for external debt repayment will have decreased from $130 bn in 2015 to $80 bn by the end of 2017. The federal budget deficit remains at safe level and will be financed by loans, which should not exceed the ceiling of 17pc of GDP. That is much lower than in EU member states. Despite the difficulties, the Government is meeting all of its social obligations in full. The unemployment rate stays reasonable.

Russian financial authorities have been doing an important job in stabilising the markets and bringing inflation down. The inflation rate has steadily decreased and has a potential to meet the 4pc target by the end of this year. Foreign direct investment inflow increased from $6 bn in 2015 to more than $25 bn last year. At the same time, capital outflow decreased from $150 bn. in 2014 to $15.5 bn. in 2016. Industrial production growth rates are expected to rise from 0.4pc in 2016 to 1.1pc in 2017 and up to 2.1pc in 2019.

Over past two years the financial stability of Russian banking system was restored. The profits of the Russian banks grew five-fold over the year. The volume of bad debt saw no increase. The loan portfolio remained stable without marked decrease. The dollarisation of the Russian economy (deposits and loans in US dollars) has been brought to 24pc, which is much less than in other emerging markets (in some countries this indicator is 60 to70pc).

Overall, the Russian economy is on a trajectory of sustained growth in the coming months making most international economists revise upwards their forecasts. We believe that foreign direct investment will increase substantially. We welcome major foreign companies and hedge pensions funds, which have serious long term interests in investing in the Russian economy, bonds and stock markets. In early February a leading global Russian agrocompany PhosAgro, which makes phosphate-based fertilizer, successfully completed its SPO at the Moscow Exchange, selling 4,5pc of its share capital for 15 bn roubles (about $250m) in just one hour. It is one example among many indicative of how Russia is viewed by international business.

The Russian Government is committed to providing every help and support to companies starting or continuing their business in Russia. Rouble devaluation has made Russian assets very attractive for purchase. Real sector companies, including agriculture, car and other industries, will benefit from localising their production in Russia.

I am confident 2017 will dramatically improve prospects for the Russian economy, raising its attractiveness further for foreign investors, including those from the UK.




LATEST EVENTS

21.02.2017 - Remembering Ambassador Churkin (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Work in New York, at a mission to the United Nations differs a lot from any Embassy. Especially so for a mission of a nation-permanent member of the Security Council. The last ten years, when Vitaly Churkin represented Russia at the UN, undoubtedly where the most busy and strenuous, given the War in Iraq, intervention in Libya, the crises in Syria and Ukraine. On all these issues there were serious differences between major powers, which increased demand for multilateral diplomacy. On many occasions those were non-stop, marathon sessions aimed at reaching consensus, finding some common ground as a basis for international action.


03.02.2017 - MEPP: inter-Palestinian conference in Moscow (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 15-17 January in Moscow there was held an inter-Palestinian informal meeting organized by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Representatives of the main Palestinian organizations were present, including Fatah, Hamas, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, the Palestinian National Initiative, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, the Palestinian Democratic Union and others.


03.02.2017 - Deal is straightforward yet Kiev drags its feet (by Ambassador Yakovenko for FT)

Sir, The latest flare-up in eastern Ukraine is just more evidence of the Kiev government choosing war over reform (Letters, February 1). It has been dragging its feet over implementation of its part of the Minsk 2 accords reached by the Normandy Four two years ago.


01.02.2017 - Crimea and Minsk Agreements: what the British media would not tell? (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The recent escalation in eastern Ukraine is again presented in the British media as Russia’s attempt to wage a proxy hybrid war against Kiev’s pro-western leadership. For fear of an eventual improvement in Russia-US relationships they pray for the sanctions against Russia to stay unless the Minsk Agreements are implemented as well as a punishment for the “Russia’s annexation of Crimea”. Let me set the record straight on that.


25.01.2017 - Finally there is hope for peace in Syria. Now let's concentrate on fighting Isil (article by Ambassador Yakovenko in The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2017)

For almost a year and a half, as the British government and media were accusing Russia of pursuing a military solution in Syria, we have patiently said that fighting terrorists complements the peace process. Their presence is a foreign intervention, which distorts everything. Not always was our voice heard, but today facts on the ground prove us to be right, and hope for peace is palpable.


18.01.2017 - Back to basics in international relations (letter by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for Evening Standard, published on 17 January 2017)

Recently we have seen a trend of questioning electoral outcomes in Western nations under the pretext of undue outside interference, first of all “Russian influence”. It follows that outcome of the June referendum in Britain could be also challenged on those grounds. Not all find it preposterous. But will of the people is expressed within domestic environment.


22.12.2016 - Why the elites blame post-truth politics for their failures, by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH, published 22 December

Establishment leaders in Europe and America need a reality check and to address voters' genuine concerns in a globalized world. The year 2016 has seen truly epic failures of mainstream politics and media, most significantly at the British EU referendum and the American election. In both cases seasoned analysts could not see beyond their Westminster or Capitol bubbles and foresee the outcomes. Enraged as they were, they chose to blame outside forces, often pointing the finger at Moscow, which supposedly has more influence on Western voters than home politicians. More generally, they blamed their failures on “post-truth politics”, ie, assuming that new-wave politicians (and their line-up crosses the Cold War divide in the Euro-Atlantic) run fake news stories and take advantage of a total breakdown of trust in elites and their institutions. Indeed, progressively, we have been seeing the last of established politicians, and institutions falling into disarray and irrelevance.


20.11.2016 - Bringing peace to Syria (by Ambassador Yakovenko for "Sunday Mirror", published on 20.11.2016)

It has to be borne in mind that Russia sent its Air Force to Syria only on 30 September 2015. According to our Western interlocutors, it was a critical moment when Damascus was about to fall to the ISIS onslaught. The foreign terrorist organizations, proscribed by the UN, such as ISIS and “Nusra”, are the single most important factor that distorted the entire setup in Syria. In fact, the terrorists are leading the opposition militarily, including in East Aleppo. Accordingly, if they call the tune on the battlefield, they’ll do the same in Syria if they prevail. Our only strategy in Syria is to allow the Syrians to decide for themselves.


19.11.2016 - Collectivism and connectivity at the heart of APEC (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 19–20 November 2016, Lima hosts regular meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. 21 countries’ leaders gather in order to discuss pressing global and regional economic issues. The Summit takes place against the background of global political and economic turbulence. The ongoing shaping of new polycentric world order is accompanied by growing instability. In the Asia Pacific, the effects of these tendencies have been mitigated by major technological and financial potential that has enabled the region to maintain its leading positions in world affairs. However, it is evident that the growing challenges will have a negative impact on the prospects of long-term growth in the region.


18.11.2016 - OPCW decision on Syria is deeply regrettable (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The decision ensures unlimited inspections of the Syria’s military infrastructure and research facilities, which provide for the basic economic needs of the country, and in some cases the region as a whole. According to those who initiated and ensured the adoption of this decision, such inspections would ultimately allow the OPCW to assume total control over the defence, research and technological capacities of the sovereign state of Syria, which has been seriously undermined by the war that is being ignited and actively sponsored by external forces.



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