Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Delivers Pep Talk

Foreign investment in Moscow is expected to reach $5.5 billion by the end of the year, a 22 percent increase from last year, Mayor Yury Luzhkov told a group of British businessmen Monday.

Speaking at a meeting with senior executives of over 30 British companies, led by British Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood, Luzhkov promised the city would continue to provide strong backing to attract foreign investors.

Luzhkov said British businesses would account for about 20 percent of total investment in Moscow, or about $1 billion, by the end of the year. Last year, Moscow attracted 57 percent of all foreign investments in Russia, pumping $4.29 billion into the city's economy.

The Moscow mayor promised to guarantee foreign investments in the city, saying he would earmark 12 percent of the next year's budget for that purpose.

According to Luzhkov, the city boasts a bustling small business sector. There are 240,000 small businesses operating in Moscow, which employ more than 1.2 million people and account for over half of the city budget's revenues.

Despite Luzhkov's championing of investment, participants at the meeting raised concerns about the investment climate.

One businessman complained that in some cases, up to 18 approvals were required before one could get a necessary permit.

Luzhkov acknowledged that acquiring the various permits to operate a business in Moscow can be time consuming, but promised to streamline operations, saying the city needed a centralized office for issuing licenses.