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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Please allow me to warmly welcome you to the St Petersburg Economic Forum. This is not our first meeting, and during our last meeting, I expressed my hope that it would not be the last. Fortunately, it wasn’t, and here we are. We are working together more and more actively. I feel it is possible and only right to use today’s venue for discussing the topics we first addressed at the Open Session: we can talk about global economic problems, the investment climate in Russia (this is particularly important for us), all your assessments of what is happening in our nation, and get a better understanding of the problems you have encountered, so that we can implement the necessary modern adjustment measures.
Naturally, I would like to hear your assessments of the early work of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. And I know that many of you decided to join the Fund’s International Advisory Board. I think that this decision itself speaks to your support for our Fund’s work and your confidence that working with it can lead to positive results.
I would very much like to engage your help and direct participation in encouraging foreign investors to work not only in the traditional sectors of Russia’s economy, not just mineral resources and raw materials, but also in other areas. They are quite diversified in Russia, these are broad fields of activity. I am referring to infrastructure, transport, logistics, healthcare, financial services and venture projects.
The Fund’s goal is to diversify investment flows into the Russian economy. In a short period of time, the Fund was formed, began its work, and is already carrying out operations, having concluded several transactions worth more than one billion US dollars. Of those, 800 million were investments by our foreign partners and investors. Overall, I think, this is a good beginning.
There is another joint decision to which I would like to draw particular attention. I am referring to the creation of the consortium of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and several international investment funds. This consortium will invest in Russian companies that plan to place shares on the MICEX-RTS stock exchange. And that will certainly give new momentum to developing Russia’s equity market and increase its liquidity. I feel that this is a very good, timely decision. We will strive for Russian companies to place their shares, including through IPOs, specifically on a Russian stock market. That is what I wanted to say in my opening remarks.
I once again welcome you!