The highlight of the first day of the forum was the speech of President Vladimir Putin and his communication with the forum participants. Russian and foreign investors waited for the President for two hours. The scene from the beginning he said that Russia has already achieved a durable stabilization of the Russian economy.
Putin has a lot of numbers: for the year will reach a new historical minimum of inflation, fluctuations of the ruble declined, and international reserves of the Central Bank are growing and are at around $400 billion. According to him, the slowdown in the real sector stopped, and the policy of import substitution worked. The President said the growing interest of the business to Russia, noting that capital outflow is reduced, and for the first three quarters of 2016, the net inflow of foreign investment in non-financial sector increased by 3.6 times and amounted to $8.3 billion.
550 foreign investors, who, according to “VTB Capital”, participated in the forum, this time never heard a word about improving the investment climate, nor direct calls to invest in Russia. Officials and the President have focused mainly on demonstrating that the Russian economy is recovering and it has enough resources for development. According to the President of the Moscow school of management SKOLKOVO Andrei Sharonov, no special stimulus is the apparent negative forecasts so far suggest not, so it was about basic things — macroeconomic stability.
Putin proposed to focus on internal resources. “In the existing restrictions needs to maximize existing opportunities and reserves of economic growth, — said the President. Over the past few years we have created many tools to stimulate investment.” It was about territories with special tax regime and development institutions and various benefits.
The President invited the banking sector to actively Finance the real sector of the economy. Bank lending for January—September decreased by 6.8%, from 33.3 trillion to 31 trillion rubles, said Putin and called it a “problem”.
Key challenges Putin called the creation of new jobs, increase productivity and upgrade production with new technologies. With them until the problem. Putin acknowledged that international sanctions have hindered access to technology. “It [sanctions], incidentally, is not only detrimental to the Russian economy and the world economy, because the Russian economy is an important sector of global economy. So those who do are hurting themselves in the end. But I think we will certainly get through this,” Putin said.
Sanctions are not the only international issue which was addressed by the President. He is tough enough, commented on relations with the United States and France. According to him, the Russian authorities are concerned about the deterioration of Russian-American relations: the American administration “formulates what she wants” and “insists” that can be called a “diktat”. Went to the United States and the financing, according to Putin, the radical opposition of Ukraine. “We brought up the coup in Ukraine”, — assured once again by the President during the plenary session.
Putin’s speech fully corresponds with the first session of the forum with participation of heads of the Central Bank, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of economic development: there too it was mostly about the fact that now investors can attract a reduction in inflation, costs, correct fiscal policy. Anticipating Putin’s speech, the President of VTB Andrey Kostin told the head of state: “I think the audience recognized that is healthy, compelling macroeconomic, fiscal policy, the worst years behind, that there were signs of economic growth.” Appeals to invest in Russia in the morning session, also has not sounded.
“What kind of foreign investment can be discussed? You compare the situation with the question”, — the Chairman of the management Board of VTB24 Mikhail Zadornov angry to respond to a reporter’s question after the President’s speech. According to him, direct foreign investments in terms of sanctions fell on the order, all Russian investments now — internal, as in most countries, except China. “The problem that we have and domestic investment is not growing. This is a key issue,” he says.
The President of “Rostelecom” Sergey Kalugin, on the contrary, no hint of investment isolation of Russia in the speeches of the President and officials did not notice. “I have the exact opposite feeling happened. The more effective will be our companies, the more they do them, so, I think, would be more interest in them,” he says.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of MDM Bank Oleg Vyugin said that the recovery of any investment activity in Russia next year will not see. “The best thing that we can count on is that there will be a significant fall in real incomes,” he says. According to him, the economy is the crisis and sanctions has not adapted. “Companies need to understand whether to recover the income of the population. That all depends,” said Vyugin on the prospects of growth of domestic investment.
Musa Bazhayev, owner and President of group “the Alliance”, said that Putin’s speech he liked the way comments about the cancellation of the trip to France, and on the pre-election debate in America. “The President never for word in pocket not go” — he is happy. The lack of foreign investment and isolation, he is not afraid. “I am a patriot of this country. I have no choice. Is insulation — it means,” he says, though adds that it is bad and doesn’t benefit anyone.
Russia is not lost and without foreign investors, I agree with Bazhaev, the head of “Renova” Viktor Vekselberg. The question, however, is how fast the economy will grow, he says. In his opinion, Russia was, is and will remain part of the global economy. He noticed that this statement was also reiterated in Putin’s speech.