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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

12.09.2014

Interview by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to Nizhny Novgorod State Regional TV and Radio Company, 10 September 2014

Question: The Nizhny Novgorod Region has been a closed region for a long time. We had to work much to get a weight in the global community, including by making business trips to foreign countries and making presentations for foreign partners. Finally, 104 foreign delegations visited the region in 2013. What is your assessment of region’s international activities? What prospects does the Nizhny Novgorod Region have?

Sergey Lavrov: In general, the Nizhny Novgorod Region is famous not only for its cooperation with many foreign partners. First of all, this is one of the most quickly developing regions of Russia, the driver of foreign economic activities and international ties of the Near-Volga Federal District, the leading district in the Russian Federation by rate of industrial production and exports of high tech products. Such regions reinforce our positions in global markets and in international affairs in general.

We are cooperating with this region closely, helping to develop its foreign ties. We see that the region likes this work, which gives practical benefits. Investments are coming in a sufficiently fast way, and interested countries actively use the recently adopted decision on easement of investment practices, the “one window system”. According to our observations, also those coming from the MFA Representation in Nizhny Novgorod, it provides good results and we welcome this in all possible ways.

As far as I understand, now the Nizhny Novgorod Region accommodates companies from about 150 countries – CIS, West European states, European Union, China and India. Arab countries also show more and more interest. We actively welcome and support this. We always help the region to develop external ties to the extent this depends on us.

Question: The Third International business summit to discuss the key topic “Investments into the future: Russia” will open on the 10 – 12 September in Nizhny Novgorod. One of segments is to set up business ties between the Russian business community and representatives of business missions from League of Arab States member states, as well as Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, China and many others. Why is it important to hold such meetings in Russian regions?

Sergey Lavrov: We actively promote the experience of the Nizhny Novgorod Region in the use of various forms of foreign economy ties. We see a creative approach here: different formats are used, the Council of Business Cooperation of the Nizhny Novgorod Region and the Republic of Belarus is operating, and presentations are organised. I recall that in 2013 there was a presentation in Nizhny Novgorod for ambassadors from League of Arab States countries. At the same time travelling events are organised. For instance, this spring days of the Nizhny Novgorod Region were held in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Regional forums are one of creative and efficient forms of work with business and foreign business circles. There are many of them in Russia: Sochi, Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok, Petersburg and many others. The region was lucky to find its “niche” and successfully uses its accumulated experience to promote interesting projects, which are attractive for foreign partners. I know that beside the business forum, which you have mentioned, the region holds the annual IT forum and the International Scientific and Industrial Forum, which have earned a solid reputation in Russian and foreign political and business circles – politicians always want to see how business introduces innovations into practical life, and use this in their activities.

I think that such forms in Russian regions are a ticket to the development of our country and attraction of necessary innovations, technology not only to Moscow and St Petersburg, but also to regions, including the Nizhny Novgorod Region and other constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Question: How much are the activities of the head of the region important for the creation of a positive image of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation, in particular, and the country in general, in international ties, building-up relations with regional authorities, businessmen and public associations of other countries?

Sergey Lavrov: The role of the leader is always important. In this case, it is confirmed by the fact such results could hardly be achieved without constant attention of the leaders and the Governor.

We are cooperating closely with the Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, Valery Pavlinovich Shantsev, to promote our joint interests on the international stage and helping the region to successfully demonstrate its “products”. In this regard, I would like to somewhat update the formula, which you have used: you said that it is important to promote the positive image of Russia abroad; I would say objective rather than positive. We have nothing to hide. We are ready to show our approaches and positions openly. We want that the opinions about us are formed based on objective facts rather than some thoughts. I assure you that when other see use objectively, their perceptions will be positive.

Question: You visited Nizhny Novgorod in 2012. What were your impressions and what did you manage to see?

Sergey Lavrov: A did not manage to see a lot. I hope to compensate that during my next visit.




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