Medvedev bid to lure finance firms to Russia

RUSSIAN President Dmitry Medvedev launched an audacious bid to lure financial services to Moscow in his speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos last night, promising minimal regulation and support for risk-taking.

Speaking the day after 35 people were killed in Moscow Domodedovo airport by terrorists, he began by thanking other world leaders for their expressions of support: “That tragedy shook the entire Russian society, although our country was in the past subject to serious tests,” he said.

But he nonetheless continued with his plan to present a modernised view of Russia, outlining the ways in which the country is bidding to become a major economic power.

He used the Davos platform to announce that the Russian government does not intend to introduce any significant regulations on its financial services sector, in a veiled reference to the bank levies, bonus regulations and disclosure requirements being introduced across Europe.

“We have abolished tax on the selling of securities for long-term investment,” he said. “Our point of view differs from our G20 friends: we have no intention to introduce any further limitations on financial activities,” he said.

“On the contrary, we would like to expand opportunities to turn Moscow into a major financial centre, to become a catalyst for the development of financial markets for the post-Soviet era.”

He also welcomed the BP-Rosneft deal as part of a move to share the development of more efficient energy production.

But while he said he was relaxed about excessive risk-taking by private individuals and enterprises, he added: “States cannot have that sort of right... Sovereign countries face the problem of sovereign debt and yet are unwillingness to cut expenditure.”

He also mentioned that Moscow intends to raise the issue of intellectual property rights at the next G20 meeting.