Putin: peak of crisis has passed
Today Moscow is hosting the 7th 'Russia Calling! Investment Forum organised by VTB Capital. The participants are discussing the priorities of development of the Russian economy, promotion of regional growth and the main trends in the markets of debt and share capital, along with other issues in the sphere of investments and business.
The Russian President is giving his annual message at the forum. Vladimir Putin said that the best economists, the best financiers, the best bankers in the world are represented at this forum, so he doubts that he will be able to add anything of substance.
"The entire idea of having me here actually boils down to saying that I support them and that we will conduct the policy they spoke of," he said. "The policy is not something frozen, our economic policy reacts to developments in the global economy. Some adjustments are made in our country, but the fundamental principles will remain. We will respond to what is going on in international economy. If there is anything you would like to ask, I will try to provide you with answers," he said.
The head of VTB, Andrey Kostin, asked Vladimir Putin about the country's need for foreign investors. The Russian leader said that "it could be a change in the policy of the US Federal Reserve, a decline in prices for traditional export products of developing countries. However, we have observed the capital outflows since the second quarter of 2010, we have capital inflows from the third quarter of this year. That is, the market is sensitive reacting to what is happening in our economy. However, some experts believe that the peak of the crisis is behind us, and the economy has adjusted to the changing economic conditions. This means the first signs of stabilization, despite the fact that there has been recession in some sectors of economy. Opportunities are opening up for other sectors: mechanical engineering, agriculture, processing. This is the first factor that could attract potential investors," Putin answered.
The Russian leader said that "some colleagues believe that the peak of the crisis is behind us. All our plans for the coming years imply that we will not only come out of the state of depression, but will restore positive dynamics in general. I have no doubt that it will happen. We will do it on the basis of realistic forecasts of $50 per barrel. This will fulfil the main task that we face," the president noted.
Vladimir Putin spoke about bilateral economic relations with Germany. According to him, "Germany is one of our major partners, and it is not only about turnover but also the depth of penetration of German business into the Russian economy."
"The Nord Stream-2 project is absolutely not aimed at depriving anyone of transit opportunities, and I would like to ask to put aside these political speculations," he noted.
Putin also noted the development of economic cooperation with the BRICS countries and China. "Our relationships are fundamental, because we are working within the growing political profile of the BRICS. China is our largest economic partner," the president stressed. "There are good prospects in transport infrastructure. We are planning a big project in the aviation industry. We have a lot of possible vectors of cooperation," Putin said.
The Russian President reiterated the government's position on the issue of restrictions on capital flows. Vladimir Putin noted that "in 2009 we didn't introduce a floating exchange rate, as the economy was not ready for drastic measures. Then we spent a large amount of reserves on maintaining the exchange rate and to preserve stability in the economy. But we did not restrict the movement of capital, and now we will not do it. There will be no restrictions on the movement of capital. There are some disadvantages for Russian citizens, which affected prices and inflation accordingly. But this step became proper and timely for the country on the whole, for its economy, and ultimately for Russian citizens," he stressed.
"Moscow is not going to get into leadership in Syria. There is only one leader in Syria, which is the Syrian people," Putin replied to questions about Syria. "What we're trying to achieve is to contribute to the fight against terrorism, which is a threat to the whole world. All our actions fully comply with the United Nations charter and international law, contrary to the actions of our colleagues, who are acting without any UN Security Council resolution or invitation from the Syrian authorities," Putin stressed.
"We asked the US to give us information regarding the targets that they believe 100% belong to the terrorists. And the answer was that they aren't going to do that. Then we asked them to tell us which targets should not be attacked by us. No answer was received. What should we do then? It's not a joke. How can we cooperate then?" he asked.