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Gaidar Forum 2017 starts with business breakfast

The first event of the Gaidar Forum was a business breakfast – a panel discussion with members of Russia’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council organized with the support of Unilever Group.

The discussion focused on the 25th anniversary of foreign investment in Russia’s socio-economic development. The event was opened by, First Deputy Chief of the Government Staff Maxim Akimov. Twenty-five years ago Russia found itself in the midst of a storm of economic transformations – in the process of building a new, free Russia, open to world markets. However, the road was long and difficult, but we managed it with our partners, global companies that dared to enter the fast-growing market and never regret it. The year 2017 is viewed with high expectations, but also with great concern, because it marks a change of economic model, a fast-growing pace of globalization, and openness of financial markets – and Russia actively involved in this.

The next speaker, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, discussed the values that are important in the work of the state and public authorities – flexibility and commitment to sustainable and long-term development.

In his report, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin assessed how strongly we are committed to these values and policies, particularly in dealing with foreign investors. We are fully committed, I hope there is no doubt,” the minister confirmed. Some 15-20 years ago, foreign businesses began working in Russia, geared to the local market. The situation began changing in the last two years. The ruble is no longer overvalued and, with this limiting factor gone, companies are turning toward exports from Russia. “You invest faster, you get a higher return of their investments,” he said.