23 May 2018
Moscow: 17:52
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

24.10.2017

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met Lord Mayor of the City of London Dr Andrew Parmley

On 20 October Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met Lord Mayor of the City of London Dr Andrew Parmley. The issues of Russian-British trade and economic relations were discussed. Specifically, the Ambassador briefed the Lord Mayor on the current situation in Russian economy as follows.

Tough challenges, including weak global growth, low energy prices and Western sanctions have been used by the Russian Government to put the economy of our country in order. Difficult, but sound decisions provided macroeconomic stability in Russia, forming the basis for a balanced and sustainable growth. So far, most of the problems have been overcome, and we have adjusted to the new, tougher terms of trade and economic environment, that some call deglobalisation.

The Russian Government has been working hard to minimize negative external effects and to secure structural change of the economy. A well-timed anti-crisis programme was launched and has proved successful. The Government is actively scaling down the dependence on commodities and implementing structural reforms. Russian economic growth in the second quarter of 2017 reached 2.7%, bringing the 1H 2017 figure to 1.5%. This is the beginning of a new trend presenting balanced economic development of our country. The main industry indicators show that Russia will have another record grain harvest this year and thus reclaim the position of the world’s largest wheat exporter. We also witness strong growth in car demand, up 18.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in this July.

Y-o-y inflation fell to 3.3% at the end of August, down from 4.4% at the end of June, which allowed the central bank to make a 50-bps rate cut at the 15 September policy meeting. The regulator also indicated that it is likely to cut further during the next two quarters. Russian international reserves hit $418 billion at the end of June, their highest level since 2014. This September, Fitch credit agency has upgraded Russia’s sovereign credit rating from "stable" to "positive”, stating that Russia continues to make progress in strengthening its policy framework underpinned by a more flexible exchange rate, strong commitment to inflation targeting and a prudent fiscal strategy, reflected in the recently approved budget rule”. This policy mix, from the Fitch experts’ point of view, “will result in improved macroeconomic stability and, together with robust external and fiscal balance sheets, increases the economy's resilience to shocks”.

Current Russian public debt is low. Obligations for external debt repayment will have decreased from $130 bn in 2015 to $80 bn by the end of 2017. The federal budget deficit remains at safe level and will be financed by loans, which should not exceed the ceiling of 17% of the GDP. That is much lower than in the EU member states. Despite the difficulties, the government is meeting all of its social obligations in full. The unemployment rate stays reasonable.

Over past two years the financial stability of Russian banking system was restored. Its profits grew 5 times over the year. The volume of bad debt saw no increase. Loan portfolio remained stable without marked decrease. Dollarization of the economy (deposits and loans in US dollars) has reached 24%, which is much less than in other emerging markets (in some countries this indicator is 60-70%). Bank of Russia has also announced the launch of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance Mechanism (ELA) to provide emergency support for banks which are not able to get support in the usual way. Strict set of criteria was set for providing any such support.

Overall, the Russian economy is on a trajectory of sustained growth in the coming months making most international economists revise upwards their forecasts up to 2-2.5% growth in 2017. We believe that foreign direct investment will increase substantially. We welcome major foreign companies and investment funds with serious long term interests in investing in the Russian economy, its bond and stock market. The Russian Government is committed to providing every help and support to companies starting or continuing their business in Russia. Current ruble rate makes Russian assets very attractive for purchase. Real sector companies, including agriculture, pharmaceutical, car and other industries will benefit from localising their production in Russia.

We are quite confident that 2018 will drastically improve prospects for the Russian economy, further raising its attractiveness for foreign investors, including those from the UK.

The Ambassador expressed an opinion that in terms of Brexit the UK has a good opportunity to strengthen the economic cooperation and smooth over political contradictions, which are not Russian-caused, between two countries. In addition the Ambassador invited the Lord Mayor to visit Russia.




LATEST EVENTS

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Q: Today the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published a report “Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK”. How would you comment on that? A: We are carefully studying this report and its recommendations. Meanwhile, one cannot help but notice at first sight that it is another anti-Russian undertaking by the parliamentary committee aimed at supporting the UK claims to play a leading role in the Western bloc to “deter Russia”. The 2015 National Security Strategy, Prime Minister’s Banquet Speech in November 2017, unsubstantiated accusations against Russia of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the “fusion doctrine” outlined on 1 May by National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill are all integral parts of the reckless policy of UK political leadership against Russia.


21.05.2018 - Embassy’s press Secretary answers media question on the detention of the journalist Kirill Vyshinsky in Ukraine

Q: How did UK authorities react to the detention of “RIA Novosti Ukraine” journalist Kirill Vyshinsky in Kiev on 15 May? A: The reporter’s detention by the Ukrainian authorities caused worldwide outrage. It was condemned by a number of countries, international organizations and journalists’ professional bodies, including the UK National Union of Journalists. Regretfully, the UK Government, which so often calls on Russia and other countries to respect freedom of speech, has preferred to keep silent on this case.


18.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question about Sergei Skripal’s discharge from the hospital

Question: According to the recent reports, Sergei Skripal was discharged this morning from the hospital in Salisbury. How could you comment on that? Answer: We are satisfied that the treatment Sergei Skripal received was successful and he is well enough to leave the hospital. We wish him full recovery.


18.05.2018 - President of Syria Bashar al-Assad made a working visit to Russia

Vladimir Putin held talks with President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad in Sochi.


16.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan’s statement on the opening of the Crimea Bridge

Q: Yesterday Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan made a statement, in which he criticized the opening of the Crimea Bridge, accused Russia of the “annexation of the Crimea” and expressed concerns over the alleged human rights violations on the peninsula. How can you comment on that? A: Unfortunately, we have to state that the British political establishment continues to deny current international realities.


15.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning Sergei Skripal’s cooperation with Czech and Estonian intelligence services

Q: How would you comment on today’s British media reports on Sergei Skripal’s cooperation with Czech and Estonian intelligence services? A: Obviously, in the absence of any evidence of Russia’s involvement in Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s poisoning, UK special services are desperately trying to find a “motive” that could explain Moscow’s alleged guilt.


15.05.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia

On May 14, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko met with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia. They discussed the preparation for the upcoming World Cup in Russia, including the modalities of Russia’s cooperation with the United Kingdom. The Ambassador informed MPs that Russia is ready for the World Cup. On the Salisbury incident, Alexander Yakovenko brought to the attentions of MPs Russia’s position on this case and called upon the British government to hold a transparent investigation.


14.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a question concerning violations of rights of Sergei and Yulia Skripal by the British authorities

Q. Does Russia plan to use international legal mechanisms to hold the UK responsible for violations of rights of Sergei and Yulia Skripal? A. Currently it’s too early to speak of specific steps that Russia could take. It is clear though that the UK continues to blatantly violate the rights of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who might be forcibly detained on its territory, in addition to violations of Russia’s right to communicate with them in accordance with Article 36 of the bilateral Consular convention. In particular, the actions of the British authorities raise serious questions as regards to observance of the following rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950:


14.05.2018 - Attention Russian citizens!

The Russian Embassy in London has been informed of unmotivated stops and interrogations of Russian citizens, who legally arrive to Great Britain having UK visas, by the UK Border Force and police.


14.05.2018 - Embassy Press Officer replies to a media question regarding the statement by MI5 Director General

Question: What is your response to today’s Berlin speech by MI5 Director General Andrew Parker who called Russia a “pariah” over its “aggressive and pernicious” activities? Answer: The British government is rallying new participants into its anti-Russian campaign. The respective statements by the political leadership have been followed by National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill, a number of high-ranking military officers, and now by Mr Parker.



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