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Seventh Annual VTB Capital Investment Forum Russia Calling!

The annual VTB Capital Investment Forum Russia Calling! took place in Moscow October 13-14, 2015. This forum is a top events to attract portfolio and strategic investments to the Russian economy. It contributes to effective interaction between Russian business and international investors.

Since its inception in 2009, the forum has attracted an authoritative and influential audience from Russia, CIS countries and key regions of the world, promoting effective cooperation between Russian business and international investors. In the meetings, participants discuss priorities of Russian economic development, promotion of regional growth and the main trends on the debt and equity capital markets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin traditionally participates in the forum, as do government officials. In 2015, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukaev, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Industry Minister Denis Manturov and Chairman of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina joined foreign investors and Russian big business. This time, the international investment community was represented by LafargeHolcim executive director Eric Olsen, head of Quantum Pacific International Idan Ofer and chairman of Fraport Stefan Schulte. Among the Russian speakers were Rusal president Oleg Deripaska, Magnit founder and CEO Sergei Galitsky and Rosneft president Igor Sechin. VTB Capital signed an investment agreement with the Moscow region at the forum.

It is notable that VTB Capital decided to hold a major international investment forum in the current circumstances. The investment bank did not hold events in London and New York this year. Sberbank CIB, the main competitor of VTB Capital, decided to postpone its traditional investment conference this year, as it did last year, due to the impact of Western sanctions on business.

The Business Russia Forum

On May 26, 2015, Russian Business Day, the 10th anniversary Business Russia forum took place at the Congress Park hotel Radisson Royal Hotel, with the motto "Proactive Movement."

Participants discussed interaction between business and regulatory agencies, business’s access to finance and the problem of high non-tax payments and fees. After that, Business Russia signed a cooperation agreement with the government of the Republic of Komi, and President Vladimir Putin spoke at the forum. He said that the change in the ruble enables Russian business to occupy new niches and expand the non-resource sector, and said businessmen coming to power should cease their personal business, and civil servants must not engage in private enterprise. In addition, the President called for the raising of the prestige of the engineering profession and expressed concern that talented students of technical specialties were sent abroad to study, after which they do not return. Just before the business forum, it became known that the Ministry of Justice had added the Dynasty Foundation, dedicated to the development of fundamental science and education in Russia, to the list of nongovernmental organizations that function as foreign agents. Businessmen asked the opinion of the President on this matter, but received no comment from him.

Business Ombudsman and cochairman of Business Russia Boris Titov presented Putin the annual report "Portrait of Russian Business in Figures," which contained more than 200 initiatives to improve the business environment in Russia.

The Higher School of Economics National Research Univerity’s 16th April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development

The Higher School of Economics National Research Univerity’s 16th April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development took place April 7-10, 2015, in Moscow. The plenary sessions discussed possible scenarios for the development of the Russian and global economies, social policy priorities, education, as well as the qualitative changes necessary to ensure the supremacy of law over the bidding of administrators.

In addition, this year there were new discussion platforms where there was a conversation about the measurement and evaluation of companies’ intellectual capital and research on corporate financial decisions. For Russian and foreign graduate students, the second annual PhD seminar on financial markets and corporate financial policy was held. A total of 715 papers were presented.

HSE NRU academic supervisor Evgeny Yasin, speaking at the conference, predicted an investment crisis in the next 3-4 years; Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said that the crisis in Russia has led to growth of the shadow economy; First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said the government foresees a policy of liberalization in most activities, and Russia will have a very different economy in ten years, with diversified development.

First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Alexei Simanovsky said there is a need to maintain a certain strictness in banking supervision. Professor Vladimir Mau, rector of the Russian Presidential Aacdemy of National Economy and Public Admininstration, said that, in the current crisis, it is not advisable to restrict the export of non-resource goods. In relation to exporters, he recommended guidance from the Gospels: For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath (Matt. 13:12).

Russian Business Week

The latest Russian Business Week took place March 15-20, 2015. This key annual Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) event took place for the eighth time. This time, representatives of business and government discussed the financial and tax systems, the investment climate, removal of administrative barriers, the labor market and social investments.

In particular, it was decided at a closed meeting of the RUIE management bureau with Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone the application of laws increasing the fiscal burden on business and change the notification period for participation of foreign companies in the capital from April to the autumn. In addition, the businessmen tried to convey to officials their opinion on the counterproductiveness of freezing pension savings and the need for conducting a fast inventory of new laws (most of them developed before the geopolitical and economic crises).

In Putin’s speech at the RUIE event, he declared the authorities’ intention to create favorable conditions for business development "for all who are willing to invest in the domestic economy and industry."

During Russian Business Week, the All-Russia Forum of Self-Regulating Organizations was also held, as well as the Tax Conference, Conference on Environmental and Industrial Safety and Conference on Social and Labor Relations.

The National Oil and Gas Forum

The National Oil and Gas Forum is the first federal-level event in the modern history of Russia jointly organized by the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation and leading business and industrial associations – the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Union of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia, the Russian Gas Society and the Expocentre company. The Forum is the key industry event of the year and largely determines decision-making strategy in the current geopolitical situation.

The mission of the forum to make a comprehensive and reliable evaluation of the domestic and foreign challenges facing the Russian oil and gas industry, through open discussion by expert opinion leaders and improving the quality of forecasting and scenario modeling of fuel and energy sector development in the medium and long term. Members of the Russian Government, heads of ministries and state agencies, leading experts and businesspeople and leading national and industry media are taking part in the Forum.