14 August 2018
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London: 14:15

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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

13.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on the prospects of the UK involvement in humanitarian assistance to Syria

Q: How do you assess the prospects of the UK involvement in humanitarian efforts to help the Syrian people? A: Our contacts at the FCO clearly show that the UK government, unfortunately, is not ready to change its position and join the international efforts aimed at providing assistance for the people of Syria. We do not see any practical steps by the official London in this direction, although, in our opinion, now is just the right time to act. However, British authorities do not go beyond expressing concerns over the Syrian population’s sufferings.


13.08.2018 - Foreign Ministry statement

On August 8, the US administration announced the imminent imposition of new sanctions against Russia on the basis of the US national law on Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination. Our country is accused of having used chemical weapons in connection with the so-called Skripal case, although no one has yet been able to provide any evidence of this, and the British side, despite our repeated requests, refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the March 4 Salisbury incident.


10.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q.: 12 August marks five months since the mysterious death of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov in London. Has any clarity been established in this case? A.: Unfortunately, we have to state that no clarity has been established as the British authorities continue to ignore our requests. Since 26 April, when Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police Mr Neil Basu QPM informed us about the course of the investigation into Mr Glushkov’s death, only the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has contacted the Embassy with the request to address all correspondence on this case not to the police, as it was advised earlier, but to the FCO in the first instance.


10.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new US sanctions against Russia in relation to the Salisbury incident

Question: How does the Embassy assess the introduction of the new US sanctions following the accusations that Russia is responsible for the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury? Answer: It seems as if the US, as it was in the case of the Russian diplomats’ expulsion in March, has come to the rescue of London in their double game, while the British authorities are unable to present any credible evidence in support of their argument that Russia is responsible for the Salisbury incident. It has been publicly claimed for a long time that the decision of the Western bloc countries to expel Russian diplomats attests to Russia’s guilt in the Salisbury incident. The same logic is exploited herein: if the US is imposing new anti-Russian sanctions for the Salisbury incident, then a critical mass of evidence that allows to act in such way has been allegedly accumulated. At the same time the US itself, according to our Embassy in Washington, “refused to answer our follow-up questions, claiming that the information is classified”.


08.08.2018 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on the 10th anniversary of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus

Ten years ago, on the night of August 7-8, 2008, the Government of Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia breached the agreement on a peaceful settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict by launching a full-scale military operation against South Ossetia.


08.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new invitation of the OPCW experts to the UK

Question: How would you comment on the recent statement of the FCO concerning the new invitation to the OPCW experts to return to the UK to assist in the investigation into the Amesbury incident? Answer: The Embassy is not in a position to comment on the investigation into the Amesbury incident related to the British nationals. Meanwhile we are interested in establishing the truth of what happened in Salisbury as the UK has again invited the OPCW experts to continue their work on identifying the nerve agent. Our approach is absolutely clear – we seek the truth and wish to know what happened to the Russian nationals in Salisbury and where they are now. Unfortunately, we have to note once again that no substantive answers have been provided by the British authorities to our numerous legitimate and comprehensive questions. Over the last five months the Embassy has sent a number of Notes Verbales requesting the FCO to clarify as to how and by whom blood samples from Sergei and Yulia Skripal were collected; how it was documented; what was the procedure of sample collection; what assistance from the OPCW was requested; what information and material evidence the British side provided to the OPCW experts, etc.


07.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning visas for the staff of the Russian diplomatic missions to the UK

Question: Has the Russian Embassy work got back to normal, after the reduction of its staff in March 2018? Are visas being issued to new staff members? Answer: The arbitrary mass expulsion of our diplomats in March has further exacerbated the already difficult situation of the Russian diplomatic missions to the UK. The attitude of the British Side to reduce the Russian diplomatic presence is still there. As far as we can tell, the set of tools remains the same: visa limitations, meaningless extended delays in visa application processing for newly appointed staff members, along with three-month incremental visa extensions for personnel accredited in the UK, accompanied by withholding of diplomatic passports.


07.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the publication of “The Daily Telegraph” regarding the “Perepilichny сase”

Question: How can you comment on the information published in «The Daily Telegraph” on 6 August that, at the start of the police investigation, the higher authorities were allegedly kept in the dark despite indications of political aspects in the death of A.Perepilichny? Answer: We have had a close look at the publication. It is regrettable that some British media outlets remain tools for throw-ins of unsupported theories in the course of the Coroner’s inquest into the death of a Russian citizen A.Perepilichny (who died in the UK in November 2012). Clearly, this is yet another attempt to question the investigation conducted by the police and the results of the two postmortem examinations, performed by the UK Home Office experts after the death of the Russian national, which established the cause of death as “non suspicious”. Moreover, during main hearings at Old Bailey, started in June 2017, the Surrey police have stated that the experts have not established any indications of poisoning, violent death or third-party involvement.


07.08.2018 - Russian-British Business Forum in London

The Russian-British Business Forum (RBBF) under the theme «Partnership in Innovations» will be organized on 26-27 November 2018 in London by the Russian Trade Delegation in the United Kingdom with the support of the Russian Embassy in the UK and a number of other prominent organisations. The event will aim at furthering the Russian-British trade and investment cooperation through a direct dialogue between the authorities and business communities of both countries. The Forum will host representatives of governments, regional authorities, CEOs of leading corporations, banks, investment funds, service sector companies, innovative enterprises and edge-cutting start-ups as well as professional and business associations (around 500 people altogether). Numerous business meetings on different aspects of economic cooperation between Russia and the UK are foreseen to take place on the margins of the Forum. The event will be held in premises of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE) in the framework of the traditional «Eastern Seasons» Russian business and culture week organized by «BSI Global Group» company.


07.08.2018 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veteran

On 4 August 2018 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medal to the Arctic Convoys veteran Mr Peter John LAKER.



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