28 November 2015
Moscow: 16:00
London: 13:00

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Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko speaks at at the annual Russian Banking Forum (28 November 2012)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am glad to welcome you in London at the Nineteenth Russian Banking Forum, hosted under the auspices of the Adam Smith Institute. I am pleased, as a year ago, to see in the audience today the familiar faces of the leading Russian bankers, financiers and economists of the City. This annual forum is established platform for discussion of the current trends and priorities of the national banking sector, with the participation of international experts, representatives of the international financial community.

The opening session of the forum "The new mosaic of global markets and the image of Russia in the international market" will give the opportunity to discuss broader macroeconomic processes, look at the changes in the global economy and their impact on the development of the Russian financial sector. I am pleased that Jim O'Neill is taking part in the debate, the man who was one of the first to determine the trend shift of the global economic center of gravity from the developed economies toward dynamic emerging markets.

In spite of the unsustainable growth and the European debt crisis, ongoing uncertainty in the global markets, Russia is maintaining the overall positive dynamics of the key indicators. In the first half of this year, we saw a sufficiently stable economic growth, and the GDP growth outlook made by the Bank of Russia and international financial institutions for the year of 2012 varies within 3.5-4% and will remain within this range with a favourable scenario in the next few years. In order to prevent negative effect of possible escalation of the situation in the euro area the anti-crisis measures have been developed by the Russian Government, while the record low level of public debt (10% of GDP) and the accumulated amount of the Reserve Fund and the National Wellbeing Fund (145 bn US dollars) create opportunities for additional fiscal and monetary stimulus of the economy.

As far as I am informed, the Russian banks, in turn, have been withstanding rather successfully the volatility of the international financial markets. The European financial sector has a limited impact on the Russian banking system because, according to the Government assessments, Russian banks have low investments in the euro area sovereign debt, while their external financing is also insignificant against the accumulated foreign exchange funds. The recent stress tests carried out by the Bank of Russia and the IMF, have demonstrated the relative stability of the Russian banking system with sufficient resilience and low currency risks. In September the successful stock floatation of a large state-owned share of Sberbank in the public market in Moscow and in London as part of the privatization program has clearly shown that the Russian financial institutions remain attractive even amid the complex conditions in the global markets. A well-functioning national banking system is a major element of the country's competitiveness, one of the key conditions for the modernization of the economy through funding and support of investment projects, in particular with the participation of foreign partners. The more detailed information about the Russian Government’s support and development of the domestic financial market, successes and priority tasks in this area will be provided today by my colleagues, as well as the Head of the Federal Service for Financial Markets.

On my part I would like to note that the Russian market and the financial sector are still very attractive to our British partners against the background of the ongoing normalization of bilateral relations between our countries. In pursuance of the negotiations of the leaders of Russia and Great Britain, which took place here during the Summer Olympics, on 29 October London hosted the regular session of the Intergovernmental Russian-British Committee on Trade and Investment chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Igor Shuvalov and Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable who were accompanied by high level business delegations of the two countries. The Joint Statement issued after the meeting noted the positive dynamics of our economic cooperation in recent years (by the end of 2011, bilateral trade increased by 33% up to 21.2 bn US dollars, the accumulated British investments in Russia on 1 July amounted to 25,7 bn US dollars.), defined priorities for its further expansion, also taking into account Russia's accession to the WTO, identified new areas of cooperation.

In this regard I would like to highlight a number of agreements, which, in my opinion, could be of interest to the Russian banks, working on export and investment projects. In particular, the Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation and Interaction in Risk Assessment between the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR) and UK Export Finance. Also there is an agreement to work together under the auspices of the Russian Housing Development Foundation. In addition, there are additional opportunities for business projects with Britain in the context of partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, JSC "Russian Railways", State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom", innovation center "Skolkovo", in the field of SME with the support of Vnesheconombank and Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, in modernizing Russian single-industry cities, etc.

In the sphere of financial cooperation I would also note the continued successful co-operation of the Russia-UK Joint Liaison Group on the establishment of an international financial center in Moscow, which was set up last year. Its fourth meeting will be held at the residence of the Lord Mayor of City in December, the agenda includes development of the Russian market of securities and derivatives, financial regulation, financial education and training, public-private partnerships, alternative methods of dispute resolution.

In general, the potential for further expansion of business cooperation with the United Kingdom and British partners is obvious. I am confident that the banking community in our countries will keep playing an important and traditionally active role in promoting bilateral dialogue in the economic field and the development of others areas of relations between our two countries.

I would like to wish all the participants of the Russian Banking Forum further fruitful work, interesting ideas and new successful joint projects!


26.11.2015 - Ambassador Yakovenko responds to Russian media question on Britain's renewed National Security Strategy

Question: The recent announcement by the British Government of the outcome of its 5-year Review of the National Security Strategy has attracted a lot of criticism. Russia features prominently in some key provisions of the document. What could you say on that? Answer: I'll start with Russia's place in it. Unfortunately, we witness what I would call inertia of the rhetoric, that is no longer reflective of the reality, which has been evolving fast. Still, it is now less categorical and diffuse, which may be a sign of changing attitude. Hope, it is going to be the case.

18.11.2015 - Syrian solution demands truly inclusive compromise (article by Ambassador Yakovenko for the Daily Telegraph supplement, 17 November 2015)

Upon Russia’s insistence, a truly inclusive multilateral process was launched in Vienna on Oct. 30 to help find a compromise solution to the Syrian crisis. Iran, a major player, took part for the first time, as well as China. All agreed to the U.S., Russia and the U.N. co-chairing the meeting. Heated exchanges took place on the issue of President Bashar al-Assad’s future. As was the case three years ago, this could derail the entire process. But ultimately it was agreed to disagree on that issue. Lack of agreement on this subject resulted in three more years of bloody impasse. We should know better than that this time. All the more so that those are the differences between the outside players. Why not leave it to the Syrians to decide?

17.11.2015 - Welcoming points at the Russian-British business forum, dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Trade Mission in the UK (17 November, 9.00, Royal Garden Hotel)

Ladies and gentlemen! I am delighted to welcome you at the Russian-British Business Forum, dedicated to such a significant date – the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Trade Mission in the United Kingdom. It gives me special pleasure to congratulate our colleagues on this occasion, since this trade delegation established to promote trade links with the United Kingdom in 1920 and headed by People's Commissar of Foreign Trade Leonid Krasin became the first in history Soviet Russia's trade representation abroad. In fact, it set an example for a whole network of Russian trade missions abroad, which are still successfully operating. Ever since its establishment the Trade Mission has continued to work hard to promote business relations between Russia and Great Britain. It helps companies in both countries to find partners and enter each other’s markets.

29.10.2015 - Russian Embassy on the Times editorial

Your editorial, which accompanied Ambassador Yakovenko’s interview (26 October) is full of grossly misleading statements on Russia’s foreign policy. May I set the record straight before your readership?

23.10.2015 - Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Financial Times”

Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Financial Times”

21.10.2015 - Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Guardian”

Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Guardian”

19.10.2015 - Why Russia had to intervene in Syria (article by Ambassador Yakovenko published in The Independent)

Combating international terrorism has long been one of the top priorities of Russia's foreign policy. We have been consistently advocating genuinely global efforts in countering that evil. The fight against terrorism must be conducted on a universal legal basis, starting with the UN Charter. That is why Russia has been unable to join the US-led “global coalition” against Isis. The coalition was established in circumvention of the UN Security Council, and its operations in Syria violate the sovereignty of that country.

13.10.2015 - "Russian airstrikes won't solve the crisis" because they are Russian? (article by Andrey A. Pritsepov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh, published in "The Scotsman")

Having read your leader comments "Russian airstrikes won't solve crisis" from 30th September and "Effort needed to rein in lone wolf" from 2nd October I cannot help but notice that they represent a U-turn compared to your previous instalments (for instance, from 17th July "Conservatives made to look very bad again" and from 21st July "PM needs to do more to beat IS").

12.10.2015 - Letter to the Editor of The Sunday Times

On 11 October 2015 The Sunday Times published the article “RAF ready to shoot down Russian aircraft over Syria” which referred to “three senior Cabinet ministers and senior Defence sources”. Given clarifications from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, stating publicly that “reports about RAF rules of engagement in Iraq are inaccurate”, one may conclude that your newspaper was spreading rumours, which could have grave consequences for our bilateral relationship with Britain, and far beyond.

11.10.2015 - Answer by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to Russian media question regarding Syria

- Can you comment on the British media reports that UK Government has given the green light to RAF pilots participating in the operation against ISIS in Iraq airspace, to shoot down Russian combat planes? - These media reports are worrying, as they refer to senior Cabinet members. We have urgently requested explanations from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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