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Lipstick on a Bear: Russia Seeks to Impress during SPIEF

Russia has an image problem. Whether it’s doping in sport, soldiers in Ukraine or crime in the Kremlin, each new title seems to bolster a negative stereotype.

And it’s a costly problem to have. It creates other governments questionable and defensive, and it mostly creates business drive clear. When the stereotypes run deep, they are tough to shake off.

So each now and again, Moscow tries charity a more certain face. One of its pivotal collection in this bid is the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, that this year ran from June 16-18. Here, for a integrate of days, a few thousand unfamiliar business people, reporters and officials are shown an assiduously designed indication chronicle of the country.

The aim is to soften attitudes to Russia and to drum adult investment. All in all, it’s a fine-tuned, effective spectacle. By the time the forum ends, many representatives have had their impressions of Russia incited upside down.

One of the first-time visitors to the forum this year was Kitty Parry, a British businessman in her thirties. The forum organizers sent 3 smiling faces to welcome her at the airfield and whisk her into St. Petersburg. She says she found the city, peppered with canals and palaces, “breathtaking.”

Parry’s impressions serve softened when she arrived at the forum, that this year had changed from its former home in a drab Soviet-era muster core to a immeasurable and shiny new formidable rising out of green fields on the city fringes.

Parry, whose company, Social Media Compliance, helps businesses and regulators to use amicable networks safely, churned with executives from banks and payment providers. She found them full of warmth and ideas. “I’m tender by how most creation is going on in Russia,” she says. The confidence in the atmosphere finished her confident. She hopes to quickly spin her new contacts into new work.

Everything around her at the forum promote a success story. Glossy stands showed off companies, media outlets and Russian regions. A robot answered questions about banking products at the case of Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank. A few stairs away, a miniature indication of Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome spewed fume in simulated rocket launches.

The annexed Crimean Peninsula was also woven into the spectacle. At one stand, flattering immature women offering practical existence helicopter tours of the multi-billion-dollar Kerch overpass plan to link the peninsula to the Russian mainland. Another case solicited investment in Crimean factories and racing tracks.

Meanwhile, in panel discussions, officials and business people exchanged straightforward diagnoses of Russia’s mercantile problems and ideas to solve them.

Parry wasn’t the only one impressed. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, authority of Nestle, emerged from a breakfast at which magnanimous officials, comrade politicians and price-controlling economists good-naturedly exchanged views over coffee and croissants. Russia is mostly portrayed as a brittle fiefdom of President Vladimir Putin; for Brabeck-Letmathe, the open discuss was instead “a pointer of openness, strength and transparency,” and the new venue a demonstration of confidence.

Not even the reality of sanctions was means to depress the mood. European Union leaders might have authorized a six-month prolongation to the restrictions, though at the forum the sanctions were finished to appear fallacious and impermanent. Russian officials found apparent commonality with their business guest in wanting to see the return of full-trading relations.

Fyodor Lukyanov, a well-connected analyst, epitomised the sentiment: “Demolition [of sanctions] starts in 2017,” he said.

The attendance at the forum of European Commission conduct Jean-Claude Juncker and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi usually bolstered that impression. Both were transparent that sanctions would not finish but a resolution of the conditions in Ukraine. But their participation sent a different subconscious message.

“It’s all a question of perceptions,” says Frank Schauff, conduct of the Association of European Businesses in Russia. More Europeans attended the forum than in recent years, he said. They were also “more engaged” and their mood noticeably brighter.

However, picture government usually takes we so far. After withdrawal the forum, one European businessperson in St. Petersburg for the initial time was clever adequate to check their certain impressions opposite the experience of acquaintances who had already finished business in Russia.

These acquaintances urged caution — Russian clients had attempted to cheat them by delaying and avoiding payments. The businessperson duly practiced their assessment. They motionless to still do business here. “But,” they said, “I will substantially insist on payments adult front.”  

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/573288.html