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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

30.11.2012

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!




LATEST EVENTS

17.04.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers the Daily Mail questions (17 April 2017)

1. Theresa May said today (Thursday) that Russia was on the “wrong side of the argument” when it comes to Syria, what is your response to that? Answer: With all my respect for Prime Minister Theresa May I’ve got to say that the opposite is true. Even former British Ambassador in Damascus Peter Ford (on the BBC the other day) said that there is no moderate opposition alternative to the present government is Syria. That’s why there is urgent need for lasting ceasefire and political process among the Syrians, so that they can decide for themselves. It seems that our Western partners don’t like this approach and want to decide for the Syrians who will take part in the political process and who shall not. I think the reason is they know well what the choice of the Syrians is going to be after the 6 years of civil war.


10.04.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's opening remarks at Quantum Workshop (7 April 2017)

I am honoured to be at the opening the Trilateral Quantum Workshop organised by the Russian Quantum Centre. This is an unprecedented and very timely event. Even as somebody rather uninitiated in quantum science, I hear more and more about the advances in this area and find myself reading up on the basics of quantum technology. Luckily, wider public now has the benefit of learning more from Internet.


17.03.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko about learning Russian: talking points for BBC interview

Foreign languages are an essential skill in the modern world. For example, in Russia, English is taught in all schools, mostly as primary and sometimes as secondary foreign language (2 foreign languages are now mandatory). Russian, the language that has most native speakers in Europe, is equally important for economic, cultural and political reasons. Learning Russian is in high demand in Asia, including China. Today you don’t even need to physically attend classes – online education is available, in some cases even for free, by Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, Moscow State University and RT TV channel. In UK, the demand for Russian is high: 21% of British employers are looking for Russian-speaking staff – this is no wonder since 600 British companies are working in our country, and the prospects are good: GDP is expected to grow between 1 and 2 percent this year.


15.03.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at Valentina Tereshkova concert (March 14, Ambassador’s Residence)

It’s an honour and real pleasure for me to welcome a legendary woman – Dr Valentina Tereshkova, Russian cosmonaut, engineer, politician, mother and friend. You are a real Russian star, our pride and a true example of patriotism.


12.03.2017 - Ambassador Yakovenko's interview for Sunday Express

Q: As a precursor to Boris Johnson's visit to Moscow in the coming weeks, what is your understanding of the nature of the visit and the purpose of the invitation - given that he will be the most senior UK Government official to visit the Kremlin in a good number of years? What message does Russia hope that the visit will send to the rest of the world? A: It is going to be the first working visit at Foreign Ministers' level in our bilateral relation over the past three years. We hope that it means that our British partners are interested in resumption of political dialogue.


28.02.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's speech at Defender of the Fatherland Day reception

On 23 February, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation celebrate their main holiday - the Defender of the Fatherland Day. This day is important not only for those who wear or used to wear military insignia, but also for all those who care about the words "Motherland" and "duty". Peace of our homes is guarded by those who serve in the country as well as abroad. Throughout history people in Russia respected military, which, according to Peter the Great, was "the first of the worldly affairs as the most important for the defense of the Fatherland". As the history teaches us – the stronger the army is, the safer is the world.


14.02.2017 - UK – RUSSIA YEAR OF SCIENCE AND EDUCATION: THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP? (Robin Grimes, FCO Chief Scientific Adviser, Part of Global Science and Innovation Network)

At the end of the classic film Casablanca, Rick says to the Chief of Police “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship”. So, as we embark upon a year of UK Russia Science & (Science) Education events, what do we expect our scientific relationship to look like 12 months from now? There are some crucial points to bear in mind.


10.02.2017 - UK worried about its place if US-Russia ties are repaired – Russia’s UK envoy (Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

Hacking, destabilizing Western states, building up its military might, and weaponizing information – Russia is hitting the headlines and seems to be to blame for all of the world’s problems. One of the loudest anti-Russia voices is the United Kingdom, condemning Moscow’s actions and calling for economic sanctions against it. Most of the accusations are far from proven – so is there still room left for cooperation on vital issues between world powers? And now that the UK’s ally the US may be ready to change course and start making deals with Moscow, is there a chance for a change in tone? We ask Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom – Alexander Yakovenko.


08.02.2017 - Ambassador’s Alexander Yakovenko speech at the opening of "Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932" exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts (February 7, 2017)

It’s an honour for me to be here at the opening of this impressive exhibition. The best Russian museums have provided masterpieces from their collections which give a fascinating insight into the drastic and violent transformation of culture and society in Russia 100 years ago. Our revolution was a complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon, a direct result of our common European catastrophe, which was WWI.


30.01.2017 - Alexander Kramarenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for the “International Affairs” magazine (Moscow). Unaccomplished mission of Alexander Benckendorff and its lessons.

11 January marked 100 years since the death of the last Ambassador of the Russian Empire to the UK count Alexander Benckendorff, who was buried in the catholic Westminster Cathedral in London. This anniversary was a timely reminder of his unaccomplished mission in London, where he arrived in 1903. What was it and why is it still relevant now?



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