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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Putin compared notes with the oligarchs

President Putin met with heads of leading private and public companies, bankers. About the content of the conversation, which was held behind closed doors, very little is known. Experts believe that the meeting might be connected with intention of the Kremlin to understand the mood of business before the presidential election.

photo: ru.wikipedia.org

Among the fifty heads of major private and public companies, banks, public associations of business, like the RSPP and OPORA Russia, was Viktor Vekselberg, Andrey Kostin (it as a gift on birthday has received from the President a wrist watch), Sergei Chemezov, Anatoly Chubais, Roman Abramovich, Suleiman Kerimov, Grigory Berezkin, Oleg Deripaska, Gennady Timchenko, Alexander Shokhin. From the government the meeting was attended by first Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of industry and trade Denis Manturov, the head of the Ministry Maxim Oreshkin. Was also attended by the head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina, presidential adviser on economic issues Andrei Belousov, head of the presidential administration Anton Vaino.

Announcing the meeting, the press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the business representatives “it is important to be able to hear from the primary source, the statement is modest, but positive trends in our economy.” How about it looked “confirmation”, can be seen in the transcript of the very brief opening remarks of Vladimir Putin on the official Kremlin website.

“Despite the known limitations, including, the Russian economy stabiliziruemost”, the President said: according to him, it (the economy) “it is obvious, can be said to have emerged from recession is gaining momentum,” and “for several consecutive quarters shows growth”. As evidence of his innocence, he cited the following figures: 1st quarter of 2017 GDP grew by half a percentage point, while the second — by 2.5%. And investments are growing, and inflation is “historically low” – less than 4%.

Industrial production, said Vladimir Putin, rose nearly 2%, and in some sectors, all “very solid”: “Production of semiconductor devices increased by 24 percent, computers at 64.2%, combine harvesters – by 31 percent, passenger cars – by 21 percent-a-half, bus – 16, freight cars – 78.5%, sunflower oil – almost 20 percent growth, jerseys to 23.5.” Over what period of time achieved such remarkable performance and how the source database was the growth of the head of state did not specify.

“It is very important to understand due to what is happening, it is important to maintain these positive trends” in terms of “persistent external constraints and even threats to their extensions” ,- concluded Vladimir Putin. And stated that he would like to hear opinions, evaluations and proposals from the Russian business elite.

Heard the President from the oligarchs, and heard from him behind closed doors they are, is not known. Short messages from agencies you can see that litigation between major companies was not discussed, and one of the participants (whose name was not called) proposed to legalize in Russia cryptocurrency, but strongly opposed by Ms. Nabiullina.

Although meetings with representatives of big business, the head of state holds more or less regularly, this one, which took place on the eve of the imminent start of the presidential campaign, had special meaning. “In principle, we can assume that the conversation was related to the need to send businesses a signal about what economic policy will be conducted after the elections”,- said the “MK” the opinion of the leading expert of Institute of modern development Nikita Maslennikov. “Now the entrepreneurs, there are many questions yet to be answered: obviously, you need a serious reset of the economic model, but how this will happen is unclear. What will happen with the tax system, pension, customs policy? The main factor that hinders development of the economy — uncertainty”, the economist reminds. On the other hand, “the President, I think, too, it is important to understand the mood of the business to know what signals from the government may be welcomed by the business community, and use this in the pre-election economic program” – considers g-n Maslennikov.

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