The keynote speakers gave their views on Russia, in particular on which sectors were the most and the least challenged, the ‘new normal’ reality, pension reform and booming consumer lending, as well as Moscow’s financial and geopolitical standing.
Vladimir Mau, Rector of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, moderating, said that Russia suffered a lack of structural reforms, inefficient fiscal spending and increased non-oil deficit.
Arkady Dvorkovich, Deputy Prime Minister, answering the question “Which sectors are in good shape and which face challenges?” gave telecoms as an example ofa well-developed sector, driven by market forces and had value-accretive capex.Among problematic sectors, he named electric utilities and agriculture. Concerninginfrastructure, Dvorkovich said that a key objective for developing infrastructure wasto refine the framework of public-private partnerships. Overall, macro policy is wellbalanced and properly defined. During the subsequent discussion, Dvorkovich arguedthat Russia could not afford simultaneously to have high social obligations, a largearmy, high state ownership of assets, and low tariffs. Thus, we shall have to choose.
Ksenia Yudaeva, Head of Economics at the Expert Department Office of the President, addressed the question “What is the ‘new normal’ for Russia?” and recapped the characteristics of this paradigm. She also shared her views on pension reform.
Mikhail Zadornov, President and Chairman of the Management Board VTB24, remarked that the ‘budget rule’ was beneficial and the current fiscal configuration adequate, but that he thought more fiscal consolidation was possible. Then, he delivered a speech on the dangers of the ongoing expansion in consumer lending, highlighting strong growth opportunities.