MOSCOW, March 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Mikhail Plisyuk, Director of the Institute of International Integration Studies, Moscow, has said that in view of the upcoming Russian Presidential election, UK-Russia relations are on a good footing.
Plisyuk said: "Sunday's celebration of Maslenitsa on London's Trafalgar Square which has now become a hugely successful tradition, once again demonstrated how welcoming the city has been to the flourishing Russian community. Furthermore, the London adaptation of the festival is the largest celebration of Russian culture, art, music and food anywhere outside of Russia, and the city itself is home to one of the largest Russian populations anywhere in the world, being the second most popular flight destination from Moscow after St. Petersburg.
"Speaking to the 160,000 Russians living in London, Boris Johnson Mayor of London emphasized ~I want to pay tribute to the vast contribution that the Russian community makes in creating jobs and growth and helping to lead our great city out of recession. Following on from last year's hugely successful festival, this year's Maslenitsa will be a great forerunner to a summer like no other in London as we welcome the world to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including our Sochi 2014 partners. This wonderful event is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the culture, commitment and capital that Russians bring to London.'’
"Some of this optimism has also visible in the economic markets, as leading investment banks predict a growth and momentum in Russian investment and stock markets in the second half of 2012, leaving behind a train wreck in the rest of Europe. According to Russian information site BSR, despite the recent cooling in bilateral relations, trade and economic cooperation between Moscow and London saw good progress this year. Britain regained its top position as a major investor in the Russian economy having injected a total of $40.8bln into Russia. The total volume of British investments in Russia in March 2011 amounted to $21.6bln, with 600 British companies currently operating on the Russian market. Bilateral trade went up by nearly 50% to $10.3bln in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2010. What's more, Vedomosti reported that in 2011 of the ten Russian companies that went public, half of the placements occurred in London.
"However, with investment having recently hindered, Russian's are currently waiting on their doubts and concerns to be clarified during the March presidential elections. If the promise of voting station webcams and transparent Persplex ballot boxes com into effect as well as Putin remains in power and fulfils his plans for strong economic reforms, it could provide Russia with the boost it needs.
"Currently, the City of London is engaged with the Russian Presidential Taskforce for the creation of an International Financial Centre in Moscow. Eight working committees have been established and the joint committee will have their third meeting in April 2012 in Moscow when the Lord Mayor of the City of London visits Russia.
"Earlier this year, Russia's Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, H.E. Alexander Yakovenko hosted Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister and members of his government in the Embassy giving a presentation to demonstrate opportunities in Scotland targeted at Russian investors. Later in the year, the ambassador is expected to host similar presentations for Wales and Northern Ireland as he seeks to promote Russian Investment in the UK.
"With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympics there is going to be a high level of activity in London, and Russians will continue to be welcomed with open arms by Boris Johnson who is standing for re-election in May, which all demonstrates the growing relations between the two nations. "
Mikhail Plisyuk is a Director of the Institute of International Integration Studies, Moscow
SOURCE Russia Insights www.russia-insights.com