SPIEF 2017 results: fabulous sums of agreements, ''Stand easy!'' by Putin and parties for oligarchs
The 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum finished in St. Petersburg on 3 June. Over three days, the Northern capital was visited by a large number of guests, among whom there were Russian and foreign officials and prominent businessmen. SPIEF 2017 statistics is striking: about 400 agreements were signed at the forum, and their total amount was fabulous — 2 trillion rubles. Realnoe Vremya sums up the results of SPIEF 2017 and tells what effect the forum has made on Russia and Tatarstan, in particular, what assessment was given by Russian and foreign experts on the current state of our economy, as well as it reveals the details of how the forum participants rested at private parties in between work at SPIEF.
SPIEF 2017 results in numbers, faces and money
St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which fell on the cold days of June, hosted more than 14,000 people from 143 countries of the world. By the way, according to the organizing committee of the forum, this year was the most numerous delegation was from the United States — about 560 people.
650 heads of Russian companies, 230 leaders of foreign companies, as well as 39 ministers from 26 countries participated in the process of establishing contacts and agreements over three days. In the Northern capital there worked 2,500 journalists to cover this event. As Executive Secretary of the organizing committee of the forum Anton Kobyakov told the press, for 21 years of existence of the SPIEF ''we had never received such a large number of participants from such a broad geography''.
The total amount of agreements signed at the forum can be called stunning, it amounted to 2 trillion rubles. It is worth noting that these figures are announced only by those agreements, the amount of which is not a trade secret. In addition, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum there were signed about 400 memorandums and investment agreements.
Here are some examples: Rosneft and ChelPipe (Chelyabinsk Tube-Rolling Plant) signed a contract for the supply of tubular products at 44,83 billion rubles. The same Rosneft until 2037 will supply 200 million tonnes of oil for a Thai energy company. Sberbank will issue 800 million rubles for the launch of a Wi-Fi network in the St. Petersburg subway, and the group of companies Detsky Mir will invest 260 million rubles in a projects of the German company SAP. The amount of the contract on modernization of Railways in Cuba, which the Russian Railways may sign before the end of the year, amounted to 1,8 billion rubles. Another interesting point: Danone company, which produces products under the Prostokvashino brand, will pay the Studio Soyuzmultfilm 500 million rubles.
Yield for the republic
From early in the morning on 1 June until the evening of the last day of the forum, the stands of Tatarstan and Tatarstan companies were bustling with life: around the ''island'' of KAMAZ there were always people — participants' attention was drawn by the parked unmanned electro bus, in which everyone wanted to go into and take pictures, if not inside the high-tech offspring of KAMAZ but at least in the background. At the same time, on the platform of the stand of Tatarstan, one after another, important agreements and treaties were signed. For example, on the second day of the SPIEF there was signed a memorandum on strategic cooperation between the group of companies TAIF and Linde. The document implies a number of contracts for gas distribution, technical gases, and most importantly, the four stages of the ethylene complex Nizhnekamskneftekhim.
In particular, they signed a contract for implementation of the first phase at €868 million, which itself is an event. About the construction of the ethylene complex the leadership of TAIF and Nizhnekamskneftekhim were thinking about back in 2008. Now the project will start with the German concern as licensor.
Besides, Rosatom agreed to allocate 6,9 billion rubles for the construction of a plant for the production of carbon fiber in Tatarstan, and Advisor to Prime Minister of Bahrain Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa al Khalifa invited our company to Bahrain to participate in joint oil and gas projects.
Another good news for Tatarstan was announced on the second day of the forum — the Republic for the third time has been recognized as the leader of the national rating of investment climate among Russian regions. Foreign journalists present at the signing of the memorandum between the groups of companies TAIF and Linde asked Rustam Minnikhanov what was the secret of investment attractiveness of the region. The president told the press concisely and with humour: ''Don't you see? Look at me — everyone immediately want to give all the money.''
Putin's speech: Petersburg cold, ''guilty Jews'' and gratitude to Trump
The central event of the forum was the plenary meeting with participation of Vladimir Putin, the speech of whom was instantly quoted by Russian and foreign journalists. First, the meeting started with a playful command of the president: ''Stand easy!'', which interpreters for unclear reasons interpreted as ''Welcome!''. Then Vladimir Putin commented on the really nasty weather in St. Petersburg.
''Speaking of which, we should be grateful to President Trump. Today in Moscow, they say, it was even snowing, raining, freezing cold. Now one can put blame for everything on him and on American imperialism, they are guilty. But we will not do this.''
The questions of the moderator of the meeting — so unloved by Donald Trump presenter at NBC News Megyn Kelly — received equally striking statements of Putin. For example, commenting on the theme of links of the Russian Ambassador in the United States with Trump's team, the president said the following:
''It is just hysteria of some sort, you just can't stop! Maybe to give you a pill or something! Does somebody have a pill? Give a pill! Well, really. <...> The Ambassador met with someone! But what does ambassadors do? It's their job, they get money for it.''
Vladimir Putin described the Western interference in the internal politics of Russia quite comically:
''You should see what your colleagues are doing here: they've just climbed in our domestic politics with their feet, they sat on out heads, swung their legs and chew the cud. Stop it!''
The question about Russia's intervention in the US presidential election also received an emotional response, we can highlight even several quotes: ''Like in the organization where I worked, they used to say: ''We need addresses, visits, names.''; ''Sometimes I think, well, he is too much [Trump], but it turned out that he was right, that he found the approach to those groups, to those groups of voters on whom he relied on''; ''It is easier to say that we are not to blame, the Russians are to blame — they interfered in our elections, but we are good people. It generally reminds me of anti-semitism: all the Jews are to blame, he cannot do anything, but the Jews are to blame''.
By the way, immediately after the plenary meeting, there was a session devoted to fake news where the head of the Department of information and press of the Russian Foreign Ministry Mariya Zakharova drew an analogy between fake news and ''information Holocaust''.
Russian economy at recovery stage?
Within three days of the forum, various experts as well as the Russian president voiced their visions of the current economic situation in the country. The final assessment — the economy is at a new stage of recovery. As noted by the head of the state, in the first three months of the current year the inflow of direct investments to Russia amounted to $7 billion. Also, according to Vladimir Putin, we need to maintain and accelerate the positive trends in order at the turn of 2019-2020 to go to a higher rate of economic growth — above the world ones. A co-owner of Lukoil oil company Vagit Alekperov told the press that his outlook is positive: ''In a year we will be stronger and richer'', and Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank Andrey Kostin ''sees Russia strong'' already in a year.
Positive sentiments were soaring at the session devoted to the consumer market of Russia. As Realnoe Vremya previously reported, during the discussion, Chairman of the Board of VTB 24 Mikhail Zadornov said that from the point of view of sales all segments of the market (auto loans, housing loans, cash loans) have entered the positive area.
''We are observing about 1,5% of the portfolio for early repayment. People are willing to take on a new debt, and it should certainly help sell food goods, as well as cars, mortgages, although housing credit is what have not given the retail portfolios of the bank to reduce for the last three years,'' said Zadornov.
Executive Director of X5 Retail Group N. V. Igor Shekhterman agreed with Chairman of the Board VTB 24:
''We are observing a certain revival on the market of grocery retail. The reasons, I think, are connected with the fact that there was a certain psychological change — people are just being tired of the crisis. About 10 million customers a day come to our shops, and when we analyzed the average check for the last time, we revealed that the completeness of the check has increased,'' concluded Shekhterman.
A rest is incomparable to a work
The busy business programme of the forum was blended with private parties and receptions, where the elite rested, as well as exhibitions and legendary performances at the Alexandrinsky, Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky theatres.
The organizer of one of the exquisite reception was Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko. The venue for the gala reception for oil and energy men was nothing less than Сonsulate General of Switzerland. The private party was organised by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov (as reported by eyewitnesses in social networks, he personally met the guests on the street). Besides, the fun for the VIP-participants of the forum was organised by the Moscow exchange, Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, BCS and Otkritie Bank.
In clubs and restaurants of the Northern capital the forum participants were entertained by the group Mumiy Troll, Leningrad, IOWA and Modern Talking, as well as Grigory Leps and a Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky. A large number of posts in social networks was to the party with the participation of a German musician Dieter Bohlen, organized by Gazprom. Users were angered by a serious traffic jam created by cars of guests. By the way, there leaked the information about a possible fee of Bohlen: about 50,000 euros.