Voices from Russia

Friday, 13 June 2008

Russia Aims to Convert its Economic Success into a Higher Standard Of Living

Filed under: business,Dmitri Medvedev,economy,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Architectural rendering of the Imperia Tower, under construction as part of the Moscow International Business Centre

President Dmitri Medvedev said at a recent reception in the Moscow Kremlin that he aimed to convert our successful efforts in economic advancement into a higher standard of living. Russia has laid a solid political and economic foundation for its steadfast and uninterrupted advance. Because its gross domestic product has grown by about 8 percent a year, this country joined the ranks of the seven leading economies of this planet and aims to turn into one of the five best-developed nations. It has stopped losing money and boasts a heavy foreign investment. When the global financial crisis broke out, insignificant sums of money were transferred to foreign banks, but, the rate of foreign capital investment has since returned to the normal average of the pre-crisis years. Besides this, the Russian gold and currency reserves rank third after the Chinese and Japanese, which cushions unwelcome developments in the financial field and boosts Russian immunity to all kinds of shocks and cataclysms so typical of global crises.

All of that explains why President Medvedev assigns a top priority to the conversion of our successful efforts to advance our economy into social programmes. Amongst these are improving our living standards, the levels of education and healthcare, and the intellectual and creative abilities of the Russian people. The President believes that the strength of the state lies in the strength of its people. “Russian leaders are quite aware that the free development of Russian society and the self-realisation of its people are the best basis for guaranteeing the intellectual and technological leadership of Russia. It shall ensure us a top level of competitiveness on the basis of creativity and major advances. These large-scale tasks can be fulfilled only by developing our capabilities and talents, increasing the value and prestige of creative and instructive activity, and a large influx of young people into education, culture, and science, of course”.

To this end the government is expected to make significant investment in these areas. It shall give priority to promoting small and middle-sized business. These are two spheres where the country’s rich resources and intellectual potential is being converted into products, which are in demand by both society as a whole and individual people. The respect of private property on the basis of law is a declared and resolved principle to jump-start economic activity, along with a radical lowering of red tape and fighting corruption. All of this makes business independent. At the same time, this paves the way for realising large-scale infrastructure, research, and investment projects.

13 June 2008

Konstantin Garibov

Voice of Russia World Service



Washington Sees Russian Advances in the Financial Field as Threatening

Filed under: diplomacy,economy,politics,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

US Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) (1942- ), chairman of the US SEnate foreign relations committee

Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), the chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee, announced in Senate hearings that the White House and U.S. intelligence see the growing Russian potential for action in the financial field as a new threat to the United States of America. Sad as it is, I have to say that alleged Russian threats are almost always seen as an appropriate topic for discussion in America. U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates wants his country to have more nuclear weapons because Russia has allegedly started spending too much money on its strategic missiles, and too little on its conventional weapons. But, there is no doubt whatsoever that increased spending on conventional weapons would also meet with criticism.

Senator Biden cited amazing things to prove that he knew what he was talking about. He was sorry to say the Russian stabilisation fund was worth 130 billion dollars (3.089 trillion roubles. 84.461 billion euros. 66.638 billion UK pounds), but, strange as it sounds, he forgot to say that Russian gold and currency reserves ranked third largest globally. He might have mentioned my country’s intention to turn into the sixth biggest economy of this planet, but, he reproached Russia for occupying the seventh position on the list of countries with the biggest sovereign funds. Russian investment abroad has, by the way, grown almost six-fold from 2000 to 2006.

Good-sense demands that the United States of America, a self-proclaimed friend and partner of Russia, hail the Russian ability to land so quickly on its feet after the trying default of 1998. But, Washington would rather keep discussing alleged Russian threats, just as it did in the cold war period. That reduces to nil its declarations of partnership and expressions of its heartfelt desire to see Russia as a strong and flourishing nation. Sad as it sounds, Defence Secretary Gates and Senator Biden play into the hand of those who mistrust the United States and see it as an extremely self-centred country that shies away from honest competition. What amounts to verbal attacks on Russia makes a highly undesirable backdrop for a dialogue between the new leaders of Russia and the United States of America.

13 June 2008

Viktor Yenikeyev

Voice of Russia World Service


Russia Shares its Experience to Help Solve the World Financial Crisis

Filed under: business,diplomacy,economy,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Aleksei Kudrin (1960- ), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Measures to correct the world financial crisis and the stabilisation of fuel and food prices are key items on the agenda of a meeting of financial ministers of the G8 in Osaka to be held on 13 and 14 June. The ministerial session is held in preparations for the July summit of G8 countries on the Japanese Island of Hokkaido. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin made it clear that the G8 intends to work out joint measures to overcome the consequences of the financial crisis and to give support to the poorest countries against the background of the rapid growth of oil and food prices.

He said,Any financial crisis calls for an assessment of the quality of state regulation and the ability to prevent such crises. Probably, the G8 countries shall adopt new decisions conducive to preventing such crises in future. The second most important issue is the struggle against poverty. High food prices were a blow to developed nations, as they are poor countries, hundreds of millions of people there became poorer. They cannot buy ordinary food products. Therefore, the ministerial meeting is expected to discuss a collective effort in support of poor countries”.

At the recent World Forum in Rome, Russia voiced its intention to increase its contribution to the world food basket. The country has a good potential to increase its grain harvest, and this does not only consolidate its own food security, but, also it shall feed many countries suffering from the present food shortage. Today, Russia is third in the world in terms of wheat exports and is among the world’s five leading grain producers.

In Osaka, Mr Kudrin is expected to explain to his partners in the G8 what Russia has done to minimise the influence of the world financial crisis. “The Russian economy should be flexible; it should be capable of prompt re-tuning under the pressure of some shocks and risks. Certainly, state regulation and the private sector should operate more efficiently, and competition should be better developed. These factors are decisive. Certainly, the state should see to it that the main economic targets are reached. These are low inflation, a stable exchange rate for the rouble, a small deficit or surplus in the budget, and a low debt load in both the state and the commercial sector. Those basic indicators should be firmly controlled so that the state could hold fast against financial crises. Russia proved itself prepared for the recent financial crisis, which began in the United States and in Europe”.

Russia’s stable economic development is also a contribution to stabilisation of the situation on the world’s financial and share markets.

12 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Banking Sector Pins its Hopes on Russia

Filed under: business,economy,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Aleksei Kudrin (1960- ), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

The British Bankers’ Association sees Russia, China, India, and Brazil as the most promising countries on the financial market. The 230 financial institutions of 60 nations point out that Russia remains practically unaffected by the global financial crisis. Because it recognises the growing influence of Russia on the global financial market, the banking sector may surely be expected to step up action in this country. The Islamic Development Bank, which brings together members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, has already voiced its intention to do this. Its president, Ahmad Muhammed Ali, said in the Russian Volga republic of Tatarstan that Russia meets in full measure the requirements of Arab and Moslem investors. It is a politically stable country, its economy is growing, and it is getting better off with each passing day.

The global crisis of liquidity and the weaker dollar call for the introduction of new rules of the game, let’s say, a new approach to the roles of the reserve currency units. Aleksei Kudrin, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, feels that Russia simply has to take advantage of this, it must turn into a leading financial centre whose global appeal rests on a stable rouble. In Mr Kudrin’s view, “This is the right and necessary thing to do. It will add to the stability of the financial system, improve the Russian rouble and increase the appeal of this currency unit. Now, that all restrictions have been lifted on its convertibility, the rouble passes as a practically-free currency unit. This lays a foundation for rouble transactions with Russia”.

Ambitious Moscow is aiming to undermine the position of the select group of internationally-recognised leaders of the financial sector, London, New York, Tokyo, and Shanghai. It is with this end in view that it is planning an overhaul of its judiciary and a tax reform that shall give a boost to its financial sector. Russia is rich in natural reserves and boasts a highly-advantageous geographic position at the hub of Eurasia. New transparency in the rules of its game with foreign investors and predictability in its government’s moves are likely to reinforce the strong points of this country with more effective international cooperation.

11 June 2008

Konstantin Garibov

Voice of Russia World Service


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