President of Russia Dmitry MedvedeV: Good afternoon, colleagues,
I am very glad to welcome you here today. First of all, thank you for attending the forum. Your participation has made this year’s forum more representative than ever before. I believe it will benefit everyone, Russia and the companies taking part. I hope the time you will spend here will not be wasted.
In my address today I spoke about establishing an international financial centre and creating a consultative council to turn this idea into reality. I would like to thank everyone who has agreed to join the consultative council.
None of us can say that last year was futile. I think everyone in Russia, Europe and the United States was busy with anti-crisis management, which, of course, was extremely important. Now, however, it is time to look ahead and to think about realising our ambitious plans.
We haven’t changed our priorities. The idea of establishing an international financial centre in not new. But we would like to take a determined step forward now. This year is marked by transition to post-crisis development, even though the prevailing opinion at the meeting today was that we are going through the middle of the crisis, and not its end or even the beginning of the end. However, it is evident that the tension has eased. We feel more confident and now our economy, like other economies of the world, needs long-term money, and our financial sector needs to be modernised.
Russian financial institutions must meet the basic standards of stability and international requirements. At the same time, these international requirements must undergo a transformation. We know what is going on, in Basel in particular, and we are familiar with the results achieved by the leaders of G20 countries. But to be honest, none of us are satisfied with what we have achieved. Clearly, a significant part of the work still lies ahead.
To go back to Russia, we have passed a series of specialised laws and a federal law that protects investors’ interests when a financial organisation goes bankrupt. Our most important recent achievement is the development of a plan to create an international financial centre in Russia. I worked on this plan personally. This may not be a bad thing because sometimes the involvement of the head of state is necessary to mobilise the inert government machine with its numerous agencies. I hope that in the course of this short but involved meeting we will be able to discuss our priorities in this work and the roles of the banks and financial institutions present here.
We have representatives of foreign banks here with us today who have extensive experience working in this country. I think a great deal depends on your personal stand. We value your experience, your knowledge and anything you can say about how easy or difficult it has been for you to work in Russia, your complaints and your views on what should be done to ensure that financial regulations, instructions issued by the Central Bank and the monitoring conducted by the Central Bank, as well as the environment necessary for the development of banking meet global standards.
We have a number of modest achievements, too. If you have been following the news in this country you will have noticed that none of the country’s leaders indulged in indiscriminate criticism of bankers; nobody said that it was the bankers who exposed the global economy to danger, or that they are the main culprits. That is not what we believe, or, at any rate, that is not what I believe. It is ridiculous to blame banks and financial institutions for everything, although they share responsibility as well.
We are ready to discuss a wide variety of issues, ranging from the establishment of the international financial centre to the modernisation of the Russian economy with the aid of modern financial institutions.
Thank you very much again for taking part in the Economic Forum. I am very interested in hearing your views.