5 October 2015
Moscow: 15:45
London: 13:45

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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!


23.09.2015 - In times of official sulk, culture and people lead the way (Ambassador A.Yakovenko for RBTH, 22 September 2015)

Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alexander Yakovenko, about the biggest exhibition of Soviet space artefacts ever seen outside Russia.

19.09.2015 - Transcript of Ambasador Yakovenko's interview for Rossiya TV, 17 September 2015

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of Jeremy Corbyn being elected by an overwhelming, mostly young people's majority, the new leader of the Labour party and, thus, leader of the official parliamentary opposition. This is nothing short of a radical breakthrough in British politics of the last 30 years, which have never stepped beyond the so-called Thatcherist neo-liberal consensus of the establishment. In fact, the establishment, mostly under the pretext of the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, proceeded from the premises that the new era is one of single-option policies, particularly in social and economic matters. This absence of pluralism was all the more visible against the backdrop of an economic downturn as austerity was being enforced upon people despite the fact that, according to independent experts, it offered no solution to the crisis. Now financial inequality is on the rise, the middle class is shrinking, the post-war 'social contract', which aimed to build a social economy or what one might call capitalism with a human face, has been practically scrapped.

16.09.2015 - Ambassador A.Yakovenko on reception at the Russian Embassy to mark the opening of the “Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space age” exhibition

It’s a pleasure and honour for me to welcome you all at this reception to mark tomorrow’s grand opening of the exhibition “Cosmonauts: birth of the space age” at the Science Museum.

19.08.2015 - Russian Embassy to "Financial Times" on Ukraine

14.08.2015 - Comments of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko on some issues of WWII to the “Independent”

May I join the debate sustained by Anthony Beevor and Mick Hall (11 August). Nobody denies that crimes were committed. But what is not taken into account is the fact that the Red Army (unlike, let’s say, the Americans) saw what the Germans had done on their soil on their way from Stalingrad to Berlin. Almost every soldier and officer had personal accounts to settle. That is why strict discipline was enforced as the Red Army entered German territory, including by the security bodies nobody liked.

14.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comments for Russian media (ITAR-TASS Agency) on the state of Russo-British relationship (30 July, translated from Russian)

QUESTION: What would you say on the present state of our relationship with Britain? It looks like after the May parliamentary elections our countries resumed contacts at political level, if we take the phone call of Prime Minister D.Cameron with President V.Putin and Ph.Hammond and S.Lavrov's meeting in Veinna. Still, the same very tough rhetoric by official London at all levels against Russia over the Ukraine crisis is striking. I mean the statements on 'Russian aggression' etc, and all of it in company with the 'Islamic State' and hacking attacks. Where are things moving, and are there changes for the better?

07.08.2015 - Regarding the comment made by the Home Office on issuing visas to the Russian Embassy staff

We have carefully examined the statement of the Home Office concerning the terms of issuing visas for Russian diplomats and other Embassy staff. In particular, it was said (quoted by "Novosti" news agency) that "diplomats must have right documents to come into UK". Does it mean that the Russian diplomatic and service passports raise suspicions of the British side? Our main concern, however, is delays in issuing visas for the Embassy staff. The Home Office spokesman, avoiding a direct reply, referred to what was said on entry into UK territory by all Russian citizens, which is "making sure false representations were not used to obtain the visa, and no facts were withheld".

06.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comments on the “public inquiry” into the “Litvinenko case”

In 2014 judicial authorities of Great Britain suspended a Coroner’s inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, wherein the Investigative Committee of Russia had the status of an “interested person”. In July 2014, against the background of the tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine, the British government decided to hold, instead, a “public inquiry”.

05.08.2015 - Reply by press-secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the UK to Russian media question on UK’s diminishing Russian diplomatic presence in Great Britain

Question: How do you assess the current bilateral relations between Russia and the UK on the visa track, have you advanced? Answer: The word “progress” means moving forward. That does not apply to the present picture of our bilateral relationship as the British side is trying to shape it.

03.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comment on the "Financial Times" editorial on the Litvinenko case

Dear Sir, I find outrageous your editorial on the Litvinenko public inquiry (3 August). It proceeds from the assumption that the inquiry is up to the standards of due process and a competitive scrutiny of evidence it provides for. It is far from that. In the first place, there is nothing public in the inquiry, which will consider the British special services' evidence in secret. It was the main reason, why Russia's Investigative Committee, participating in the Coroner's inquest (now suspended), decided not to be party to the public inquiry. It is notable that one line of evidence in the public inquiry is totally absent. I mean the fact of finding traces of polonium in the restaurant Abracadabra in Jermyn Street two days before Alexander Litvinenko was presumably poisoned in the Millennium Hotel. The owner David West was killed later on and his restaurant closed. Then another crucial witness Boris Berezovsky died under the circumstances, not established by the Coroner's inquest, which ended in an open verdict. Not to mention that any evidence, including his intention to return to Russia, was pushed aside to ensure that suicide version had no credible alternative.

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