Investors still wary of Russia

Before the Ukrainian crisis, Vladimir Putin flirted more with Western companies. Then, after the annexation of Crimea and the imposition of international sanctions, the Kremlin has turned to China. This year at the economic forum in St. Petersburg, who is the real barometer of the business climate in the country, the Russian President decided to take the red carpet for India and its Prime Minister Narendra modi (Narendra Modi).

After statements of the Russian President about the fact that Western countries are “counterproductive Russophobia”, it became clear that the issue of normalization of relations between Moscow and its main economic partner, the EU is not on the agenda. Unlike last year’s forum, which was attended by the head of the Executive branch of the EU Jean-Claude Juncker (Jean-Claude Juncker), and former Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi (Matteo Renzi), this year none of the top European leaders arrived in the city on the Neva.

However, today the economy looks more attractive: after a decline in 2105-2016 years, she managed to emerge from recession by raising oil prices and prudent monetary and fiscal policies. In parallel with the reduction of the bloated public sector, the Central Bank started the recovery of the banking sector and completely abandoned control of the ruble. The Russian government expects these steps in order to attract investors. “They are quite well made it through the crisis. Out of the woods, ” says Pierre Sarar (Pierre Chareyre), Deputy Director General of the Engie. Sanctions did not affect his group activities. Engie, acting at the behest of “Gazprom” participates in the project “Northern stream-2” which through the Baltic sea to supply gas to Europe.

However, the economic growth observed since the beginning of the year there is a sluggish pace. These figures have raised concerns that sluggish growth could drag on for a long time, in contrast to the euphoric growth in the first ten years of Putin’s rule — the perspective for which desperately clings to the Kremlin. “It is unlikely that we will return to pre-crisis indicators of 2008 “, — said Andrei Bugrov, Vice-President of the giant Norilsk Nickel. Like many other executives, he advocated that the Russian economy was dependent on oil prices. Alas, it’s an impossible wish.

With the French and the American teams dominated, as always, representatives of the energy sector. No new person will decorate a joint photo of the leaders of eternal multinationals, ranging from Caterpillar and ExxonMobil and ending with Total and Schneider Electric.

The question of sanctions

During the discussions constantly brought up the issue of sanctions as the question of the need for structural reforms. Frederic oudea (Frédéric Oudéa), chief Executive officer of Société générale, shareholder of ROSBANK in 2006, complained of “cuts” that are undergoing surgery for financing in the long term. The head of “NOVATEK” Gennady Timchenko, a partner in the Total construction of the gas pipeline on the Yamal Peninsula, I am glad that many French companies continue to invest in Russia.

“But to hope for the normalization, it is necessary that Russia has made concessions to Ukraine”, — said one of the leaders of French companies, which condemns the support given to Moscow, marine Le Pen during the presidential campaign. Vladimir Putin seems not to worry about these tips: “the Effect of economic restrictions absolutely miserable,” he said in a challenging tone.