Finance Minister lauds speed of Russian adaptation to Western business exits
Russian businesses were surprisingly quick to replace Western firms that left the country amid sanctions over the past year, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said while speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2023) on Thursday.
According to the senior official, the country has already fully adapted to the new economic reality.
“We have built muscle, ensured technological sovereignty, created independent systems that allowed us to develop further … We have had a good year, we have developed antibodies to this situation, and now let them feel bad,” he stated, referring to the sanctions the West placed on Russia in connection with the conflict in Ukraine as a disease.
He noted that the government’s efforts were enough to keep the economy stable, but Russian companies beat all expectations with the pace they set at replacing exiting firms.
“We did not expect it to happen so quickly,” he said.
“If you look at the business confidence index, it went up. If a year ago it was about 48%, now it’s 54%.”
Siluanov noted that Russia’s major task at the moment was boosting and securing its presence on the global market.
“The current global transformation is painful for other countries, for those countries that used to be economic leaders and are losing their status,” he explained.
“This transformation is taking place through painful and unfriendly actions in order to maintain their status quo, but it will not work. We have been through this several times and see that it is inevitable. Our most important task is to find a place for Russia. It is important for us to make sure that we increase our share in this global economic pie.”
Over 1,000 Western firms quit the Russian market after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine, according to Yale University analysts. As a result, Russia was forced to reorient to non-Western partners and introduce import substitution mechanisms, which allowed many local businesses to fill niches that had previously been closed to them due to competition from foreign firms.
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