Foreign business optimistic about investment climate in Russia - ASI head


YEKATERINBURG, June 25, /ITAR-TASS/. Foreign entrepreneurs who are doing business in Russia assess the investment climate in the country more optimistically than their Russian colleagues, Andrei Nikitin, Director-General of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, June 25.

“There is the Foreign Investment Advisory Council under the government which includes all the foreign investors who are working in Russia now. We ask them: How do you like our investment climate? And their assessment is three times higher than that of Russian entrepreneurs. They say: It’s so great here, we make so much money, people are good and the investment climate is fine. You haven’t worked in other countries. Russia is a European country,” he said.

Nikitin admitted that “it’s a problem that Russian business assesses the situation as being much worse than foreign companies do”.

Russia hopes for foreign capital even if it comes to import substituting programmes which have lately been discussed at all levels. “We do not pay attention to an owner’s nationality, provided his production facilities are in Russia. In this case we will consider him a domestic one,” Nikitin said.

The Agency for Strategic Initiatives was created by the federal government in August 2011 for supporting unique and socially important projects and initiatives for medium-size business, promoting professional mobility and supporting young professional teams in the social sector.

The Agency for Strategic Initiatives has broad functions and powers for promoting innovative ideas and projects.

ASI seeks to support innovative activities of young entrepreneurs in medium-sized business.

“A key task of the agency is to support those who have already done something, especially in medium-sized business,” President Vladimir Putin said, adding, “I mean innovative activities.”

The agency will focus on three main areas: new business, young professionals and social projects.

Putin said ASI would “promote landmark, interesting and promising projects” and people who have achieved certain results in their work.

It will support both current projects and concrete people with experience who have undertaken new projects.

Speaking of young professionals, Putin said ASI would “help to create a comprehensive system of professional qualification” and select the best education programmes.

As for social projects, the agency will engage in innovative activities in such fields as education, healthcare, culture, leisure time, and help to the elderly people and people with disabilities.

Putin is the chairman of the ASI Supervisory Board. Its permanent members are presidential aide Andrei Belousov, Sberbank CEO German Gref, Vnesheconombank President Vladimir Dmitriyev, Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sergei Katyrin, ASI Director-General Andrei Nikitin, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and others; all in all 13 members.