Russia » Economics
Author`s name Michael Simpson

Drang nach Westen: time for Russia to define its position on the world market - 12 September, 2002

Russia’s image on the international scene still leaves much to be desired. Everything is so much original, vague and rather ineffective in this country. It takes much efforts for Americans and Europeans not to mix gatherings of the Russian mafia and sessions of the Cabinet. However, there are people in Russia who already think about the future, and the thinking is in a right direction. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s most civilized oligarch incited his colleagues to spend their money on improving Russia’s image abroad. So, as we say it’s better late than never.

The Russian oligarchs decided to focus on the Russian union of businessmen and manufacturers, as they have not enough money for promotion of the whole of the country yet. The idea was suggested by the Union’s committee for international affairs headed by the oil magnate, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Russia’s newspaper Vedomosti quoted him as saying: “It is time for Russia to define its position on the world markets.”
 
The newspaper informs, the Union’s bureau supported the initiative, and three tenders are soon to be announced for realization of the project. The program developed by Khodorkovsky provides for opening an Internet-portal and a magazine about Russian business, both in English. A large-scale advertising campaign is also to be launched in foreign mass media.  
 
RosBusinessConsulting  informs, main objective of an Internet-portal will be to inform western investors of tendencies and events on the Russian market. It is really very important to make the portal and the magazine positively-oriented: people abroad should understand that Russian business is constantly changing for the better. Advertising in the western  media should tell the world about “progress achieved in making Russia’s investment climate more attractive.” Foreigners will also be informed of the lobbyist opportunities and authority that the Russian Union of businessmen and manufacturers has in the country.
 
Russian oligarchs want the Russian business circles to be treated abroad as “dynamic, transparent and positively-oriented toward investors.” To tell the truth, it is a really very hard objective against the background of some events in the country, the scandal at the Kotlas pulp and paper plant for example. So, such advertising abroad will cost Russia much effort and money.
 
Russian oligarchs also plan to issue a respectable analytical magazine about Russian business in English, which is to pursue the same objectives as the Internet portal and the advertising campaign. However, it is still a question, whether such a magazine will be quite efficient. 
 
Analysts hail the Union’s initiative, and say that if the idea is a success, capitalization of the companies belonging to the Union members would considerably increase. However, it is really more important now to help foreign businessmen understand that “Russians are very much like foreign businessmen themselves, and it is possible and even advantageous to deal with them.” Otherwise, Russia will not be able to enjoy the natural advantages which President Putin has  recently mentioned.
  
Dmitry Slobodanuk
PRAVDA.Ru

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