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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

29.01.2016 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's opening remarks at the presentation of the of joint forecast “Global System on the Brink: Pathways toward a New Normal”

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's opening remarks at the presentation of the of joint forecast “Global System on the Brink: Pathways toward a New Normal”


27.01.2016 - Speech by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko at wreath laying ceremony on Holocaust Memorial Day

Today we are here, at the Soviet War Memorial, to remember one of the darkest, most tragic and shameful chapters in the history of mankind – the Holocaust. It is a powerful reminder of the perils of discrimination and intolerance, of just how catastrophic and barbaric the incitement to racial hatred can be.


19.01.2016 - Implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran will strengthen regional security

On January 16, the IAEA Director General released a report confirming that Iran has completed the necessary preparatory steps to start the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was agreed upon in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between the group of six nations (P-5 plus Germany) and Iran with a contribution from Federica Mogherini of the European Union. Under the JCPOA, approved by the UN Security Council, the release of this report signifies the start of the Plan’s implementation.


23.12.2015 - Message by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the British astronaut Major Timothy Peake

Dear Mr Peake, May I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I wish you every success in your mission abroad the International Space Station, which, besides its scientific value, already contributes to development of friendship between the peoples of Russia and Britain. Here in London we witnessed enthusiasm comparable to the Russian emotions in 1961, the year of Yuri Gagarin’s space flight. I strongly believe this enthusiasm will translate into larger contribution of UK agencies and institutions to space research, and Russia is ready to be partner in this ambitious endeavor. I hope that in the coming year Russians and Britons will be able to work together on common tasks just as you did during your training in Russia and are doing now, aboard the ISS.


10.12.2015 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at Digital BBQ-2015

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, Today is the fifth time we are holding our digital BBQ, which gives me reasons to consider it an established tradition and share some reflections of what changes we have seen since 2011. First, at that time most people were already connected, and the use of social networks was heavy – but today it has become a truly inalienable part of life, and even websites as such have largely been overtaken by social networks.


28.11.2015 - Bonds forged by the great game of football can help defeat terrorism (by Consul General Andrey Prisepov for Herald Scotland)

Two weeks ago, we all followed a rather special football game at Wembley: England playing France just days after the attacks in Paris. The innocent victims of these inhuman assaults were remembered with dignity and poignant tribute was paid by players and supporters. Thousands of people shared their passion for the great game and, equally, showed their compassion in a manifestation of unity and solidarity. Once again football embodied human spirit and an affirmation of life. History has numerous examples of what seems to be the inherent qualities of the game. Herald readers may have watched the 1980s film Escape to Victory starring Michael Caine. In the movie, allied prisoners of war play football against their Nazi guards, knowing they will be shot should they win.


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?



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