I continue to believe that one of the biggest assets Russia has is not just oil and gas, it’s talent. Talent is sustainable, the only sustainable comparative advantage that you have in a time when information is flowing so fast. The talent landscape here in Russia has always been strong. This is one of the reasons why people want to come here.
When we look at the SME market here (and diversifying the SME market has a huge potential here) it is too small. The energy base is too dominant in the economy, and if you can diversify the economy and spread the wealth a lot more, I think you will get a broader participation in the economy, and as a result, a much better and more stable economy at the same time.
The foreign businesses have a good and improving relationship here in Russia and have learned how to be successful. What really is needed is for Russians to invest more, and for Russian businesses to feel more comfortable putting more Russian money to work in investment.
The state’s responsibility is to create comfortable conditions for business, that are as favourable as possible, whereas the responsibility of a business is to pay taxes on the basis of the financial results of its activity and to ensure, most importantly, the quality of jobs rather than just the quantity.
For investment, you need capital. Capital demand is not provided by banks anymore (or not at the level that we will need). We have to find other ways to fund the investment growth.
Even a small business today could be a global business. Of course, the large businesses are global businesses, but even a small business can be a global business because today the internet allows you, and technology allows you, to tap into these markets.
Investors now are not simply choosing between various markets, but also deciding which of them is good to invest in. They’re choosing whether to invest or to save.