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Column by Olga Podoinitsyna, Member of the Board at VTB Capital, in ModernRussia

15 December 2011

Promoting investment and business opportunities in Russia

By: Olga Podoinitsyna, Managing Director, VTB Capital on December 15, 2011

The speed and success with which Russia’s economy has opened up can be gauged by the number of investment conferences in the country and the international community’s interest in them. The first such event was held only 16 years ago and has mushroomed into an immeasurable number of forums. These investment conferences have become as diverse and competitive as Russia’s economy itself – events with similar goals and audiences are vying with one another to prepare relevant agendas and attract high-profile speakers.

VTB Capital’s Russia Calling! event has been one of the more successful in this very crowded field, its first annual forum taking place in 2009.

A variety of expert speakers and government officials attending such conferences emphasizes the importance the Russian government sees in bringing people together to promote investment and business opportunities in Russia. A report produced by Russia’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council last year underscores how useful it is for market leaders to organize such conferences and road shows for the benefit of the country’s economy.

The agenda of investment conferences in Russia has also mirrored the development of the country’s economy. For example, in 2009 the agenda at Russia Calling! reflected the condition of the global economy, which was still emerging fr om the impact of the deep financial crisis that slashed growth rates across the world. In 2010, the formal agenda was dominated by Russia’s own recovery, the strength of the international financial system and Moscow’s ambition to be a key financial hub.

This means, of course, that the continuing turmoil in Europe and disappointments in the U.S. economy will have an impact on Russia, just as it will on prospects for growth in every other national market. But the underlying strength and stability of the Russian economy and the investment and business opportunities in Russia this brings was one of the main features of discussions at the 2011 event.

It is evident that the forum’s success coincides with a new stage of development of Russia’s investment market, wh ere the financial crisis has altered the mix of players and introduced new rules. Therefore, the creation and success of Russia Calling! concurs with the current complex stage of market development and makes it possible to run a new platform for promoting a dialogue between government representatives, key decision makers and international investors.

It is impossible to separate the positive impact of events such as Russia Calling! on the development of the investment climate and changes of the global business community perception of Russia as a viable investment destination. As we saw with the RTS’ positive reaction during the Russia Calling! event, investment conferences will continue to play a major role in further developing Russia’s investment climate.


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