23 October 2018
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London: 19:58

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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

24.10.2017

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met Lord Mayor of the City of London Dr Andrew Parmley

On 20 October Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met Lord Mayor of the City of London Dr Andrew Parmley. The issues of Russian-British trade and economic relations were discussed. Specifically, the Ambassador briefed the Lord Mayor on the current situation in Russian economy as follows.

Tough challenges, including weak global growth, low energy prices and Western sanctions have been used by the Russian Government to put the economy of our country in order. Difficult, but sound decisions provided macroeconomic stability in Russia, forming the basis for a balanced and sustainable growth. So far, most of the problems have been overcome, and we have adjusted to the new, tougher terms of trade and economic environment, that some call deglobalisation.

The Russian Government has been working hard to minimize negative external effects and to secure structural change 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. Russian economic growth in the second quarter of 2017 reached 2.7%, bringing the 1H 2017 figure to 1.5%. This is the beginning of a new trend presenting balanced economic development of our country. The main industry indicators show that Russia will have another record grain harvest this year and thus reclaim the position of the world’s largest wheat exporter. We also witness strong growth in car demand, up 18.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in this July.

Y-o-y inflation fell to 3.3% at the end of August, down from 4.4% at the end of June, which allowed the central bank to make a 50-bps rate cut at the 15 September policy meeting. The regulator also indicated that it is likely to cut further during the next two quarters. Russian international reserves hit $418 billion at the end of June, their highest level since 2014. This September, Fitch credit agency has upgraded Russia’s sovereign credit rating from "stable" to "positive”, stating that Russia continues to make progress in strengthening its policy framework underpinned by a more flexible exchange rate, strong commitment to inflation targeting and a prudent fiscal strategy, reflected in the recently approved budget rule”. This policy mix, from the Fitch experts’ point of view, “will result in improved macroeconomic stability and, together with robust external and fiscal balance sheets, increases the economy's resilience to shocks”.

Current Russian 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 17% of the GDP. That is much lower than in the EU member states. Despite the difficulties, the government is meeting all of its social obligations in full. The unemployment rate stays reasonable.

Over past two years the financial stability of Russian banking system was restored. Its profits grew 5 times over the year. The volume of bad debt saw no increase. Loan portfolio remained stable without marked decrease. Dollarization of the economy (deposits and loans in US dollars) has reached 24%, which is much less than in other emerging markets (in some countries this indicator is 60-70%). Bank of Russia has also announced the launch of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance Mechanism (ELA) to provide emergency support for banks which are not able to get support in the usual way. Strict set of criteria was set for providing any such support.

Overall, the Russian economy is on a trajectory of sustained growth in the coming months making most international economists revise upwards their forecasts up to 2-2.5% growth in 2017. We believe that foreign direct investment will increase substantially. We welcome major foreign companies and investment funds with serious long term interests in investing in the Russian economy, its bond and stock market. The Russian Government is committed to providing every help and support to companies starting or continuing their business in Russia. Current ruble rate makes Russian assets very attractive for purchase. Real sector companies, including agriculture, pharmaceutical, car and other industries will benefit from localising their production in Russia.

We are quite confident that 2018 will drastically improve prospects for the Russian economy, further raising its attractiveness for foreign investors, including those from the UK.

The Ambassador expressed an opinion that in terms of Brexit the UK has a good opportunity to strengthen the economic cooperation and smooth over political contradictions, which are not Russian-caused, between two countries. In addition the Ambassador invited the Lord Mayor to visit Russia.




LATEST EVENTS

22.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning comparisons in Britain between Russian and Saudi Arabia’s reactions to high-profile incidents

Question: After the reports concerning the death of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the British media have been drawing parallels between the actions of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Are there any good reasons for such comparisons? Answer: We have already stated that we would not be commenting idle talks. It is for journalists, not diplomats, to speculate on this kind of issues. However, we have taken note of yet another article by Boris Johnson in “The Daily Telegraph”, where he compares the death of Jamal Khashoggi to the so-called poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. In particular, he insists that Saudi Arabia and Turkey should – and rightly so – provide the public with as much information as possible concerning the exact causes of the journalist’s death.


15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the ties between “Bellingcat” and secret services

Question: Russian officials claim that “Bellingcat” is connected to intelligence agencies of the Western countries, but do not present any evidence of such ties. Doesn’t such approach contradict Russia’s position on the Salisbury incident, the MH-17 catastrophe and other notable cases, where the Russian government is continuously demanding to publish proofs of accusations? Answer: There is no contradiction. The fact that “Bellingcat” is affiliated to the intelligence services is obvious considering the whole range of relevant circumstances: date of its foundation (several days prior to the MH-17 catastrophe), nature of published information (which combines signs of intelligence data and highly professional fakes), its orientation (always anti-Russian), timeline of publications (each time at the best moment from the point of view of interests of NATO countries), biography of its leader (Elliot Higgins suddenly turned from a PC gamer into an “icon of independent journalism), non-transparency of its internal structure and financing. If “Bellingcat” can provide any other plausible explanation for such combination of facts, it should be presented to the public.


15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the British government calls to step up anti-Russian sanctions

Question: How would you comment on the news that the British government has been lobbying a new EU sanctions regime against Russian nationals allegedly involved in use of chemical weapons and cyber-attacks in Europe? Answer: We have taken note of the respective statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of 14 October and the relevant media reports. These suggest that, faced with an imminent Brexit, the British government makes every effort to step up the sanctions pressure on Russia and to complicate as much as possible Russia-EU relations after Brexit.


13.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q.: 12 October marks seven months since the death of Nikolay Glushkov. Does the Embassy have any new information on this case? A.: Unfortunately, once again we have to state that the British side continues to evade any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of the death of former Deputy Director General of “Aeroflot” Mr Glushkov that occurred on British soil on 12 March. The British authorities continue to ignore numerous Russian requests, including the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance in the criminal case opened in Russia into the Nikolay Glushkov’s death. There are no answers to the Embassy’s proposals to arrange a meeting or consultations between the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation experts and the Metropolitan Police representatives.


12.10.2018 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s introductory remarks at the press-conference on 12 October 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, In recent weeks we have received a number of media requests concerning the current state of bilateral affairs between Russia and the United Kingdom. I am also often asked how numerous anti-Russian statements by the British officials influence our approach towards the UK. Considering this, I have decided to invite you today to make respective short comments on these issues and answer your additional questions. Currently the relations between Russia and the UK are at a very low level. The reason for that lies in an aggressive anti-Ru ssian campaign launched by the current Tory government and supported by the British media.


09.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new Bellingcat’s investigation

Question: How would you comment on Bellingcat’s claims that it has “tracked down Alexander Petrov’s real identity”? Answer: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently advised us to consider such publications and statements as a display of freedom of public debate into which the UK Government does not interfere. There have already been reports that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police would not comment on these “speculations”. This is exactly the case when we should follow the example of our British colleagues.


08.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the UK authorities’ reaction to Russia’s official requests following recent flagrant media publications

Question: The Embassy declared its intent to request clarifications from the British side following the recent accusations of cyberattacks, and the media reports on preparations for retaliatory cyberstrikes against targets in Russia. Has there been any response? Answer: Today we have received a reply from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which implies that, as before, the British side is not going to provide us with any details that may serve as the basis of the accusations. In this case, we are not in a position to make comments on the essence of those accusations.


05.10.2018 - Embassy comment on another groundless British accusation against Russia

On 4 October, UK Permanent Representative to OPCW Peter Wilson speaking on behalf of Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan claimed that the “GRU” allegedly “attempted to compromise UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office computer systems via a spear phishing attack” and “targeted computers of the UK Defence and Science Technology Laboratory”. The same day the UK National Cyber Security Centre stated that “multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station were accessed and content stolen” and “the GRU was almost certainly responsible”.Today, the Embassy has forwarded a Note Verbale to the FCO demanding that the UK Government produces and immediately shares with the Russian side hard evidence and proofs supporting those claims, and informs about sources used to draw such conclusions. We have reminded, in particular, that Russia had repeatedly proposed expert consultations on cybersecurity in order to address UK’s concerns, if any.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the BBC journalist Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal

Q.: How would you comment on the Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal published on 4 October? A.: We intend yet to study this book. At the same time, it is a well known fact that Mark Urban has close links with British secret services. This gives us grounds for considering this book as an attempt to compensate for Sergei Skripal’s public non-appearance as the key witness to the Salisbury incident. Instead of facts, the public is again offered speculation and guesses.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the recent anti-Russian statement by the Foreign Office

Question: How would you comment on today’s statement by the Foreign Office accusing Russia of worldwide cyber-attacks on massive scale? Answer: This statement is reckless. It has become a tradition for such claims to lack any evidence. It is yet another element of the anti-Russian campaign by the UK Government.



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