Interview with Vladimir Ismailov

Vladimir Ismailov, the Chairman of Finance Investment Committee of the Association of European Businesses in Russia, highlighted for RT the possible consequences of the Russia-UK diplomatic row.

Russia Today: As we know Russia has promised to deliver an adequate response to Britain's actions. How likely is it that it will actually affect economic ties between the two countries?

Vladimir Ismailov: Speaking on behalf of the business community I hope it will not affect severely. Incidents like happened in the past and there is a political side and there is a business and economical side which in most cases is more weighted on the scale of what are the losses and what are the perspectives.  I am just hoping that whatever actions Russia perhaps is going to take will not affect the business relationship between the two countries.

RT: So you are saying that it has not affected it in the past when there were similar cases?

V.I.: As far as I recall, I do not have such a long memory probably, normally the short-term effect is based on emotions but medium and long-term effects are more business-strategy based, therefore the effect is normally not that severe.

RT: The former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has previously warned of cutting business with Russia if, he said, “there are no shared principles and shared values with the country”. At the same time he said he wanted good relations, something that has been recently also stated by the current PM Gordon Brown? How far do you think this all will go to affect the economic ties between the two countries?

V.I.: Hopefully not too far. I do not remember the exact numbers but the share of export / import between Russia and the UK is about 3% of total Russian export / import operations. I would be more focused on investments and the share of the UK investments in Russia is about 8% to 10% and the inflow of investment is about 13%. So investments are a more long-term perspective and that is probably what we need to focus on. There might be obviously some short-term measures that may affect the trading balance between the two countries but figures say it will not be that significant for Russia.

RT: What do you think of the long-term prospects between Britain and Russia, taking into consideration the current political links between the two countries?

V.I.: I hope they are bright and as I have mentioned 10% of foreign investments in this country came from the UK and about 10% of Russian investments abroad are going to the UK. Therefore we are bound to be partners forever and I am just hoping that all the political steps will be weighted on this scale and business community will support the long-term perspectives.

Association of European Businesses