22 September 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

08.09.2017 - SCO sets standards for countering extremism (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In June 2017, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which will help strengthen the international legal framework to address new challenges and threats as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between relevant authorities of the member states and to improve legislation in this area.


07.09.2017 - No alternative to a peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia is deeply concerned over the situation on the Korean Peninsula, where confrontation is moving into its hottest phase than ever before. North Korea continues to violate UN Security Council resolutions.


07.09.2017 - The West’s counter-ISIS efforts cost Iraq and Syria dearly (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

According to the UN, mass media and NGOs, as a result of air and artillery strikes by the US-led counter-ISIS coalition in Syria, hundreds, perhaps thousands of civilians have died. The number of refugees and temporarily displaced persons from Raqqa has reached 200,000. At present, there are still 25,000-40,000 civilians in the city, which until 2013 was inhabited by almost 300,000 people.


16.08.2017 - Iran has the right to develop its missile programme (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The launch by Iran on 27 July of the missile “Simurg” caused a lot of speculations and aimed at putting additional pressure on the country under the false pretext.


05.08.2017 - DPRK tested medium-range, not intercontinental ballistic missile

The latest developments on the Korean Peninsula have become a matter of a grave concern against the backdrop of yet another launch of a ballistic missile by the DPRK on 28 July in violation of the UN Secretary Council resolutions. But the bellicose rhetoric will not produce a peaceful negotiated solution.


02.08.2017 - Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: playing with fire (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On July 7, the work on the draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (PNW) was completed in New York. Russia considers this Treaty as counterproductive and potentially dangerous, which brings humanity no closer to a world free of nuclear weapons and threatens to damage the existing non-proliferation regimes. The international community has already created universal mechanisms, based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which allow a gradual cut of nuclear arsenals. At the same time, it provides for the strengthening of international stability and ensuring equal security for all states, including non-nuclear. We are convinced that the NPT contains all the necessary provisions in this sphere that must be applied consistently.


27.07.2017 - The role of nuclear weapons in the Russian military strategy: setting the record straight (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

We continue to see efforts to blame Russia for allegedly lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Against the backdrop of current anti-Russian hysterics and groundless accusations of “aggression”, “destabilization”, “interference”, etc., this adds to the false picture. Let’s set the record straight.


27.07.2017 - Russia’s efforts in Syria: we invite all to join (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia continues its efforts in Syria aimed at normalizing the humanitarian situation and eliminating terrorism in the region. Along with fighting ISIS, al-Nusra Front in all its reincarnations, and other terrorist organizations, recognized as such by the UN Security Council, Russia also contributes to establishing conditions to secure the ceasefire between the Syrian government troops and the opposition. Starting from June, Russia has supported the signing of agreements on ceasefire with representatives of 508 towns and villages. Total number of reconciled inhabited areas has reached an unprecedented number of 2,043.


26.07.2017 - Khan Sheikhoun: we must establish the truth (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The question of what really happened in Khan Shaykhun on April 4 still remains unanswered. Russia’s critical attitude to the methods of work and to the conclusions of the report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Syria on this matter is well known. For three months of work, the FFM could only prove the use of sarin, thus confirming the findings of the Syrians themselves, who managed to obtain samples onsite. We believe there are fundamental flaws in the work of the Mission, including the following: the inquiry was conducted remotely, without visiting the scene of the incident; the CWC’s basic chain-of-custody principle hasn’t been honoured; in fact, the main question remained unanswered – under what circumstances and how exactly the chemical agent was deployed.


19.07.2017 - Real actions, not sanctions, needed to save public health in Syria (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains complex. According to the UN, 13,5 million Syrians or more than half of the country’s population need help. Of the UN 2017 humanitarian appeal for Syria of $3,4 bn, so far $702 mln has been allocated by donors. The Syrian public health system, which was once considered the best in the region, has now significantly deteriorated and its state is of particular concern. There is limited access of the population to the medical and sanitary services, and the immunization from the main diseases remains at a very low level. As of the end of June, 17 cases of poliomyelitis were registered in the country. The threat of epidemic remains high. Due to the lack of clean drinking water, outbreaks of dysentery, cholera and typhoid fever are ever more possible.



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