20 January 2018
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Аmbassador’s Notebook: Moscow as an International Financial Center

Since 2010 Russia has been consistently implementing a top priority national economic project developing Moscow as an International Financial Center (MIFC). Major reforms of our national financial architecture demonstrate to international as well as domestic investors new advantages of the Russian financial market as it is further integrated into the global system.

After the merger in 2011 of the two largest national trade platforms – RTS and MICEX – the new united Moscow Exchange this February conducted a successful IPO on its own platform, demonstrating possibilities for large companies to raise capital in Russia. Remarkably, 23% of the shares were purchased by British investors. "This is a good sign and a crucial test that proves the possibility of domestic placements in local shares. I think this IPO must serve as a case study for other privatizations that will follow later this year and next", commented Dmitry Pankin, Head of Federal Financial Markets Service (FFMS).

“Moscow Exchange’s IPO, the largest ever solely on a Russian exchange platform, marks a major step forward in its development as well as the future growth prospects of the Russian financial market,” said Alexander Afanasiev, the Exchange’s Chief Executive.

Also this February the Moscow Exchange became the first of CIS exchanges to grant direct access to its foreign exchange market to foreign banks, starting with the Eurasian Economic Community (Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia and Tajikistan).

The Russian Central Depositary – a key element of the new financial infrastructure – has become fully operational in March. Earlier the two leading international depositaries, Euroclear and Clearstream opened Central Depositary accounts in Russia. These steps will ease the access of foreign investors to Russian securities, starting with the highly attractive market of the federal government bonds.

In May 2013 Russia has completed the first stage of its legislative work on the establishment of the financial megaregulator — the finalized draft of the Central Bank Act was introduced and passed through the State Duma in the first reading. The bill will transfer FFMS’ control and oversight functions in the financial markets to the Central Bank. Depending on the progress of legislative procedures, the megaregulator may become operational in August.

In April 2013 the Government has granted the Ministry for Economic Development the right to apply to diplomatic missions and consulates to back visa requests by representatives or employees of major foreign companies investing in Russia, as well as Skolkovo and MIFC participants. An implementation mechanism is being currently considered. The new regulation will help attract foreign investment to Russia and create a more effective business environment for foreign investors.

“Financial infrastructure and regulation are two areas we have been making strides in”, says Head of the Russian MIFC Taskforce Alexander Voloshin of the megaregulator in the MIFC context. Next on the MIFC Taskforce agenda is long-term capital, further improvement of corporate management of the Exchange, Central Bank capital procedures, the Central Depositary recognition.

Remarkably, these and other issues related to the development of the Russian financial market are also on the agenda of the UK-Russia MIFC Joint Liaison Group that was established in 2011 following the bilateral summit in Moscow. It is co-chaired by Alexander Voloshin and the Lord Mayor of London and its expertise has been actively relied upon in the MIFC project development recently.

The fifth meeting of the Group is to be held on 28 May 2013 in Moscow in the context of the visit to Russia of the Lord Mayor of London Roger Gifford who will be supported by a representative City business delegation. Among the priority topics for discussion at the meeting will be long term finance and how to attract private capital into infrastructure investments, public private partnerships, financial education and training, regulatory and supervisory issues. The professional advice and mutually beneficial exchange of ideas on the financial market developments and global trends between the Russian and British experts have become a valuable and welcome source of relevant information and support for the MIFC forward-looking agenda.


17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.

08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)

25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.

20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.

16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation

25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.

23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.

12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.

14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?

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