Russia Assures Investors Over Reforms at Davos

Moscow, with the Kremlin in the background.
Alexander Zemlianichenko | AP
Moscow, with the Kremlin in the background.

Investors worldwide continue to be skeptical towards Russia, confounded by whether real reforms will bring structural changes. During the World Economic Forum, theRussian delegation has been trying to reassure investors in order to reverse capital outflows that have reached more than $350 billion since 2007, even though outflows have been slowing more recently.

Sergey Belyakov, Russia's deputy minister of economic development, tells CNBC about the government's efforts to lure investors: "First, creating an enabling environment for investments, and this is a large portion of our government's agenda today(…) The cost of businesses, the time to set up a business. We are not basing ourselves on the number of laws we have adopted but on how comfortable and how enabling the environment is. This is a new policy and the results so far have been encouraging, both for me and the foreign investors."

In a report on Russia unveiled by the World Economic Forum this week, investors are reminded of three key uncertainties hanging over the country: First, it highlights Russia's heavy reliance on its energy sector for economic growth. Second, it points out the lack of social cohesion highlighted by mistrust within society and towards institutions. Third, the report warns of weak institutions as the country ranks in the lower tier of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Ranking for 2012-2013.

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During his address at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev rejected criticism, saying: "Russia is an open country, whatever they might think or say."

Medvedev set out a target to grow investment by 10 percent per year, which will only be brought about by attracting large-scale foreign investment.

"That amount of investment expansion is needed to push Russia's economy beyond 4 percent growth," Medvedev added.

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Concerning the country's $10 billion privatization program, the Russian deputy minister of economic development Belyakov told CNBC that "not everything has been accomplished in 2012, we pushed some of the projects into 2013."

"Due to the situation in the markets it is not profitable to sell right now and we are trying to prioritize institutional change over selling assets," he added.