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BUSINESS FOCUS - RUSSIA

Russia on Rise

Russia has been through great changes over the past years. After a decade of turmoil, the country has achieved stability. Today it is a democratic state with a developing civil society. However, the implementation of reforms has not yet been accomplished. Further social and economic transformations are underway, while measures to overcome poverty have been taken by the government. Meanwhile, the legal system is improving and military forces have been modernised.

Russia has been through great changes over the past years. After a decade of turmoil, the country has achieved stability. Today it is a democratic state with a developing civil society. However, the implementation of reforms has not yet been accomplished. Further social and economic transformations are underway, while measures to overcome poverty have been taken by the government. Meanwhile, the legal system is improving and military forces have been modernised.

The economic situation in Russia has also altered radically. Since 1999, GDP has grown by almost 30 percent. The inflation rate has fallen by two-thirds. Structural changes in the economy can be seen in increased investments in manufacturing and services and, most importantly, in the development of the domestic market - the growth of internal consumption. Financial independence and the stable exchange rate of the ruble are some of Russia's fundamental achievements in recent years. The problem of foreign debt payments has been virtually resolved. At the same time, the gold and foreign currency reserves of the Central Bank have reached over $84 billion (?65.5 billion), the highest in country's entire history, including the Soviet period. The country's investment attractiveness has greatly increased.

These obvious and positive changes in the economy have enabled the Russian government to take steps towards solving social problems and improving the living standards of its citizens. The challenges that the country still faces are not simple. But there is no doubt that Russia is moving in the right direction. As for difficulties, they are the evidence of a normal, healthy evolution. Most important is that the course of reforms enjoys the overwhelming support of Russians.

On March 13, Russia will elect its next president. Naturally, political activities are focused on this forthcoming event. Several candidates are running for the office, including incumbent President Vladimir Putin, who enjoys the highest rating according to the polls. The choice that Russians are going to make will determine the country's course of development for the next four years.

Alexey Borodavkin
Ambassador of Russia to Slovakia

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