Foreign business could use more help, Vladimir Putin admitsRussia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin acknowledged that foreign business was facing tougher conditions in Russia than Russian business, and foreign partners therefore needed additional governmental support. The statement was made during an Internet press conference in India, where the PM is currently on an official visit. “To put it bluntly, foreign businessmen lack the connections within administrative bodies that Russians have, and thus, it is more difficult for them,” the PM stated. He added that many foreign partners even lacked an understanding of Russian realities and laws, meaning they would need help with that matter, as well. Meanwhile, as Putin noted, all of the world’s major companies are currently operating in Russia, despite efforts by some foreign mass media to paint a negative image of the country. “You have been in Russia since the 1960s. You are not really going to leave just because of certain mass media reports, are you?” the PM rhetorically asked an Indian businessman anxious to learn more about the Russian investment climate. According to Putin, Russia’s main foreign partners have remained in the country, although in the first half of 2009, a certain outflow of speculative capital was indeed seen. Yet, as Putin concluded with a hint of pride, “the overall balance for the year was still positive.” When speaking about the banking sector, the prime minister pointed out that the government had offered the financial sector considerable support during the crisis, using both the government’s and the Bank of Russia's resources. At that time, in stark contrast with many other countries, banks with foreign capital were also eligible for state support in Russia. Putin has no complaints about the operations of foreign banks during the recent crisis. The Russian government did not impose any considerable limitations on the banking system at the time, and some foreign players actually contributed to a certain outflow of capital from Russia. “On the whole, however, they behaved fairly responsibly during the crisis, and we have no reason to bring any claims against them,” the PM stressed.
Putin also agreed with Indian business people who maintained that Russian-Indian relations were short on banking support. In his words, both Russian and Indian banks have already taken the initial steps toward overcoming the shortage. “We are set to keep the process going, and I completely agree that it needs backing and intensification. We will certainly be paying more attention to it,” Putin stressed.
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