Install

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

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Courts Investors At Summit in Salzburg




SALZBURG, Austria -- Russia, a year after the collapse of its economy and a ruble devaluation, is waging a public relations war to regain investor confidence, but the battle is so far being lost.


At the World Economic Summit's Central and East European summit in Salzburg this week, Russian officials and businessmen have been out in force to show the country's "new" economy, bolstered by recent positive economic data.


Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin and wave after wave of high profile economic reformers and former prime ministers have all worked vigorously behind, and in front of, the cameras to put forward Russia's case.


The stakes are high. Russia is looking for relief from $140 billion worth of foreign debt. Furthermore, parliamentary and presidential elections lurk behind every appearance.


"The Russian presentations were unlikely to have altered impressions significantly among potential investors attending the Salzburg conference. Actually, I think they may have undersold some of the positive things that have happened recently such as the alcohol tax," one Western diplomat said.


Relations between Russia and the investors it needs to help provide funds to restructure the economy have been strained over the past year since Russia effectively defaulted on billions of dollars of worth of government treasury bills, or GKOs.


Armed with data showing May industrial output rose 6.1 percent over the same period last year, and inflation in June was expected to ease to 1.5 percent, officials know the message they want to give, but admit it is difficult to tell if it is hitting the mark.


At a joint news conference at the summit, rightist party leaders Anatoly Chubais, Sergei Kiriyenko, Konstantin Titov and Vladimir Ryzhkov announced the possibility of setting up a broad coalition in the run-up to parliamentary elections, Interfax reported.


"Our participation in the joint press conference is not incidental. We worked thoroughly on the idea of creating a united coalition of right-centrist forces which will run in the upcoming parliamentary elections," Chubais said.