Sergei Ivanov: Russian State must promote investment in big projects and manufacturing

21 de abril de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>Sergei Ivanov: Russian State must promote investment in big projects and manufacturing.</h1><p>April 20 (EIRNS) - Elevated to the post of first deputy prime minister of Russia in February, Sergei Ivanov has now presented to a <em>Financial Times</em> of London interviewer his concept of his area of responsibility: "the real sector of the economy, minus energy" (but, including nuclear power). Excerpts from the lengthy interview were printed in the London paper yesterday, with the full transcript appearing only on its web site. In the first half of the conversation, Ivanov laid out how the state ought to act in the national interest, through the large industrial holding companies whose creation he is overseeing.</p><p>Ivanov disputed the notion that Russia is happy with current high oil and gas prices. In fact, he said, "high oil prices are more of a minus, than a plus for our economy," because they postpone a decisive "move towards innovation and a knowledge economy." Developing a major theme of President Vladimir Putin's speeches over the past year, Ivanov said his main task is "to develop a more diversified economy," through transport infrastructure (aviation, sea, rail, auto), nuclear power, space, telecommunications, and commercial use of Glonass (the Russian satellite positioning system). In some of these sectors, like nuclear power and space services, he added, Russia can be competitive on the world market, under its own steam. Ivanov cited other sectors, like the aircraft industry, where Russia has successful joint ventures with Boeing, or Italy's Finmeccanica.</p><p>Italy and Germany are the foreign partners with which Russia has been able to cooperate most successfully, Ivanov said, and also "partly" France, whereas "in the U.S. and Great Britain, it is more closed for us."</p><p>Ivanov elaborated why it is essential that the state play a major role in some sectors. "Not because we want to leave everything under the control of the state," but because there are some sectors, like nuclear power, which are inseparable from military industry, and others, like rail or shipbuilding, where there will be a 75 percent or higher state role "by definition."</p><p>"People often say, as a reproach," added Ivanov, "that Russia is creating huge holdings [holding companies -ed.] in aerospace, shipbuilding, nuclear power, space -- supermonsters, monopolies that are suppressing the market. But the private sector does not go into these markets. We waited for 15 years and understood that the private sector will not go there. The private sector goes into mobile phones. But wherever there's a need for huge resources and long-term credits with subsidized interest rates, because it takes five or seven years to build a modern ship, and when it will make a return on investment -- well, you understand. Private business just doesn't invest in this, and we need to create such holdings."</p><p>The state will promote transport infrastructure, he said, in order to develop whole regions of Russia that are underpopulated. There is an area equal to two-thirds of Russia's total, in which only 20 million people (out of 142 million) live. There will have to be immigration, but Russia needs people to immigrate to these regions, not only to Moscow.</p><p>In the second half of his <em>Financial Times</em> interview, Ivanov developed several themes from his own recent speeches, as well as those of Putin. Among these were the threat of a new Cold War, Russia's understanding of planned U.S. and NATO military deployments as aimed against Russia, and the U.S. State Department's announced plans to step up funding of NGO activity in Russia as "practically interference in our internal affairs."</p><p>()</p></div></body>