President Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, dear colleagues,
As you know, I was in Baku today to take part in the mourning ceremony for former President of Azerbaijan Geidar Alievich Aliev.
Geidar Alievich was a major political figure in the former Soviet Union and he did a great deal to develop bilateral ties between Russia and Azerbaijan over recent years. While in Baku I noted, and I will say again here, that Azerbaijan is one of the few former Soviet republics where not a single Russian school has been closed and where the number of Russian-language newspapers and magazines is even greater than it was during the Soviet years. And this is despite all the difficulties and complexities we have found ourselves facing in the Caucasus in general to this day.
While in Baku I also had the opportunity to speak with the current President of Azerbaijan, with the President of Kazakhstan, the acting President of Georgia and with the Ukrainian President.
You know that I have already signed the law “On currency regulation and currency control.” This is a very important document. We have spoken before about how much needed it is, and the government has been working on it for a long time.
In its new draft, this law is more transparent and clear in its interpretation of many of the most important provisions in this area. It makes the rules simpler and easier for investors to understand and does away with outdated currency restrictions in trade. In order to achieve these aims, the new law gives a complete and succinct list of all the operations subject to regulation. All other operations not referred to in the list can be carried out without restriction.
The law is direct in action. This gives business the stability and the freedom to manoeuvre that it needs on the market. Currency regulation bodies – the government and the Central Bank – are not allowed to demand that residents and non-residents seek individual permissions. This was done deliberately as an anti-corruption measure, and I think that this law will take us in the right direction.
The law takes an important step in fixing the right of residents, both legal entities and private individuals, to open bank accounts without restriction on the territory of countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).
The law also contains other important provisions. I won’t go into them now. I think the market participants and the citizens of Russia will feel the beneficial effects of this law for themselves. The date when it will come into force has been pushed back a bit because the economy has to have time to adjust and the Russian banking system also has to take the necessary steps to prepare itself to compete for clients.