people in motion

people in motion

vendredi 4 février 2022

What To Do When The Market Appears Unstable ? -

  • A lot of people will overreact during market corrections for one simple reason – they don’t have a plan in place.
  • Always tell people that the worst time to discover your risk profile is when you can’t afford to discover it.
  • We all want the perfect portfolio. That’s the portfolio that captures all the upside and none of the downside. >> News flash – that thing doesn’t exist.

Markets went heavily down (correction or bear market ?)  late January. They are not catastrophic numbers, but they are fairly sizable given that we are only in the beginning of the year 2022.

At this falling rate, the Nasdaq will be at $0 by July. Just kidding. That is not how that works. But still, it is an uncomfortable environment. So what should we do? Here’s a quick check list followed by some tips to identify whether we are in a correction or a bear market:

1. Revisit your financial plan and goals.

A lot of people will overreact during market corrections for one simple reason – they don’t have a plan in place. All asset allocation should start with a simple financial plan so you create goals and time horizons for specific assets.

For the the average investor we would advise of simple bucketing strategies using ETFs because they create behaviorally robust and streamlined asset/liability matching portfolios.

What that means in short is, you want to have specific buckets for specific time horizons to match your future liabilities. For instance, everyone needs a liquidity bucket for emergencies, home down payment, etc. And everyone has medium-term liabilities for more uncertain future liabilities like kids tuition, car purchases, etc. And then we all have long-term buckets like retirement and long-term health needs. Creating time horizons for your assets will help you stomach the probability that that asset will be there in full when you need it to be there.

At any rate, you need to establish a plan and the worst time to establish your plan is after the market falls and you realize you needed the plan years ago.

2. Revisit your max pain point. 

The worst time to discover your risk profile is when you can’t afford to discover it. This too often happens when the market is spiraling lower and people panic. People move to cash because cash makes the pain stop. If you don’t know your risk profile the market will teach it to you. Do not wait for that moment. Instead, assess your max pain point before you get there.

The best way to do this is to ask yourself how you’d feel if your portfolio fell 20% over the course of a calendar year. And then assume it’s going to fall another 20% the following calendar year.

At this point, your portfolio is down 36% so you need to ask yourself how you’ll feel when it falls another 20% in year 3. This brings you to a total drawdown of 49%. This is essentially what happened in the 1970s and early 2000s. It’s not unheard of by any means even though it is a distant memory.

In a raging bull market like the last 10+ years, it’s easy to forget what a horrible grinding bear market really feels like. They’re scary as hell and they’re a perfectly normal part of the market cycle. But it won’t feel normal when it’s happening.

Now, everyone knows how to answer the question “what do you do in this environment?” Everyone says buy more or sit tight. But when you’re in the throes of that 49% downturn you will, with near certainty, question every emotion you’re having. You will, with certainty, say “what if it’s different this time”. And you will be tempted to sell to make the pain stop.

Do this exercise now. Put yourself in those emotions now so you don’t discover them later.

3. Remember that perfect is the enemy of the good. 

We all want the perfect portfolio. That’s the portfolio that captures all the upside and none of the downside. News flash – that thing doesn’t exist. And no matter how much you look for it you will just waste money on taxes and fees the harder you try.

It’s in moments like this where you need to go through exercises #1 and #2 and then accept that your plan doesn’t need to be perfect. The appropriate portfolio that you can stick with will outperform the optimal portfolio you can’t stick with.

You aren’t going to capture all the upside with all the downside protection of cash. Everyone wants to hate on bonds and cash in an environment like today. But that’s mainly because they’ve forgotten what it feels like when stocks go down for multiple years in a row (something bonds and cash do not do).

The point is, implement the portfolio you need, not the portfolio you want. By setting realistic expectations and implementing the portfolio you need you will likely give up a lot of potential upside while implementing a portfolio that is behaviorally robust and therefore likely to perform better than the counterfactual where you chase the returns without knowing you are chasing risk.

4. Talk about it. 

People don’t like to talk about money. Or, they like to talk about money when things are good, but hate to talk about money when things are bad. Own your mistakes. Talk about them. Learn from them.

There’s nothing wrong with talking about your mistakes, getting second opinions and having an open discourse about how you are feeling and what you are doing. It’s all part of the process of learning to deal with the emotional rollercoaster of the markets.

That is wise to complete your experience and reasoning by questioning professionals in whom you trust and check with him (them) the optimal solution for you (as everyone has  different needs and risk levels). 

At Investlogic we are happy to help you to find the best solution FOR YOURSELF !


Super Bubble and Bear Markets

JEREMY GRANTHAM  previously posted the following chart of 40-years of market bubbles. During the inflation phase, each got rationalized that “this time is different.”

Grantham believes that exuberant investor psychology leads to a “blow-off” phase in financial markets. To wit:

“The penultimate phase of major bubbles is characterized by a “blow-off” which is an accelerating rate of stock price growth to two or three times the average of the preceding bull market. This pattern shows as clearly as any of history’s other great superbubbles in 2020 (see  below Exhibit 4).”

Grantham who has been bearish for months did not hesitate to announce couple of days ago that the SUPERBUBBLE had just exploded… And that the loss of capital that will follow could reach 35’000 billions – We don’t even know what that means. He thinks that the irrational behavior of many investors will lead to a total collapse in all asset classes… the possibility of a 40-50% contraction to revert the massive extension from the long-term growth trend is highly.

The two most important levels for market watchers, given Grantham’s view of a “mean reverting event,” are the 38.2% and 50% retracement levels. The 38.2% level intersects the running support trendline from 2009. The 50% retracement level aligns with the lows from 2018 and March 2020.

Should those two support levels fail, the market will likely search for a bottom at the 61.8% retracement level at the 2015-2016 lows.

That can’t happen, you say? 

A Bear Market Anatomy

There are three principal phases of a bull market: the first is represented by reviving confidence in the future of business; the second is the response of stock prices to the known improvement in corporate earnings, and the third is the period when speculation is rampant - a period when stocks are advanced on hopes and expectations. 

There are three principal phases of a bear market: the first represents the abandonment of the hopes upon which stocks were purchased at inflated prices; the second reflects selling due to decreased business and earnings, and the third is caused by distress selling of sound securities, regardless of their value, by those who must find a cash market for at least a portion of their assets.
- Robert Rhea, The Dow Theory, 1932


What Defines A Bear Market

To answer that question, let’s agree on a basic definition.

  • A bull market is when the price of the market is trending higher over a long-term period.
  • A bear market is when the previous postive-trend breaks, and prices trend lower.

The chart below provides a visual of the distinction. When looking at price “trends,” the difference becomes apparent and valuable.

The distinction is also essential to understanding the difference between “corrections” and “bear markets”.

“Corrections” generally occur over short time frames, do not break the prevailing trend in prices, and are quickly resolved by markets reversing to new highs.

“Bear Markets” tend to be long-term affairs where prices grind sideways or lower over several months as valuations are reverted.

The price decline in March 2020 was unusually swift using monthly closing data. However, that decline did not break the long-term bullish trend and quickly reversed to new highs, suggesting it was a “correction.”

Given the already large deviations from the trend in 2020, it required more than a 20% decline to retest the trend. If you review the chart above, the subsequent retest of the bullish trend will require something substantially larger in magnitude.

We are here to accompany you along the way.
Stay tuned

lundi 24 janvier 2022

The Federal Reserve Doesn’t Care About the Stock Market

Imagine the following scenario: Termites are eating the foundation of your house. You call a pest control company for a cost estimate to get rid of them. After a thorough assessment, they report the following:

“There is bad news and good news. The bad news is, solving the problem will cost $10,000. The good news is, things could have been much worse. If you wait another six months, it will cost you $50,000.”

In our metaphor, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is the homeowner. The house is the U.S. economy, and the termites are inflation.

The point of the metaphor is that the Federal Reserve has run out of choices. If termites (inflation) continue to gnaw at the foundation of the house (the U.S. economy), the house will eventually collapse.

The Federal Reserve has to stop this from happening, no matter what. That is its most important job.

And if the stock market is hurt by the Federal Reserve’s actions, the Fed won’t care. Addressing the inflation problem is simply too important

The Fed Never Cared About the Stock Market (Not Directly, Anyway)
The Federal Reserve never cared about the stock market anyway — or not directly, at least. The notion it ever did was a myth.

The Federal Reserve officially has something called a “dual mandate.” The twin pillars of the dual mandate are stable prices and maximum employment.

This means that, first and foremost, the Fed is tasked with keeping inflation in check. It is also responsible for keeping the economy healthy.

Along with stable prices and maximum employment, the Federal Reserve cares about political optics because it wants to maintain independence.

The Federal Reserve knows that if politicians in Washington get angry enough, Congress could vote to curtail or even revoke the Fed’s independence. The Fed doesn’t want that to happen, which is why it stays attuned to politics.

Based on its historic pattern of actions, and the way the stock market has responded positively to every rescue effort, it certainly looks like the Fed cares directly about the stock market. But this is an optical illusion that arises from acting on other concerns.

For example: If the banking system collapses or the corporate debt market freezes up, millions of jobs would be lost.This is why, when a financial crisis unfolds, the Fed steps in with liquidity and credit market support. That support winds up helping the stock market — but the stock market gains are a secondary effect.

Then, too, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. economic recovery stayed subpar and sluggish for years.

The Fed introduced quantitative easing (QE) in that environment to try and create a “wealth effect” — a theory that rising asset prices would make consumers feel more confident and thus more willing to spend and contribute to economic growth.

The key thing to know is that supporting the stock market has never been a direct concern. Investors have just gotten used to thinking that way, because every time the Fed responds to a crisis, its actions tend to support asset prices.

The Federal Reserve today is no friend to the stock market. One might even consider it an enemy. Why?

Because in 2022, fighting inflation is the Fed’s No. 1 concern. That means tightening up monetary conditions and hiking interest rates. The market is pricing in at least four rate hikes over the next year or so, and it remains entirely possible there could be more.

If it sounds strange to think of the Fed as the enemy of the stock market, that is just because we are used to recent history. Think of the Federal Reserve under Fed Chair Paul Volcker in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Volcker was so determined to beat inflation, he was willing to trigger a brutal recession (via sky-high interest rates) to achieve his goal. Today’s Federal Reserve isn’t likely to go as far as the Volcker Fed, but nor does it have to.

Speaking of recessions: Some will argue that if the stock market goes down in value too much, the Fed will have to step in because a weak stock market threatens the economy.

That might have been true in the 2010s — the decade that followed the financial crisis — because the economy was weak and sluggish. But today the unemployment rate is 3.9%, which is historically quite low, and there are credible arguments that the U.S. labor market is the tightest it’s been since the 1950s.

Then, too, not only is the U.S. growth picture robust in 2022, but one could argue that demand is too robust relative to the output capacity of the U.S. economy itself.

Consumers are so flush with cash, they are buying more goods than ever before, and it is largely the force of this demand that is straining supply chains and pushing prices up.

At the same time, the Fed is worried about inflation expectations becoming entrenched. With inflation readings at 40-year highs, it is not just the inflation itself that poses a problem. It is the risk that an inflationary mindset gets embedded in the public consciousness.

If the stock market falls hard against a backdrop like this, it won’t necessarily hurt the U.S. economy. Stock valuations in some corners of the market were looking highly inflated, the strongest companies have plenty of cash on the books, and housing demand and labor demand look rock-solid.

In fact, companies with excessive valuations (meaning extraordinarily high price-to-earnings or price-to-sales ratios) can see their share prices fall a long way before day-to-day business is impacted.

The nosebleed valuations in many areas of the stock market right now — particularly the tech sector — further explain why the stock market is so vulnerable to an extended correction, or even a multiyear bear market decline

Strong Banks and Balance Sheets Mean No Financial Crisis on Dec

What about the possibility of a new financial crisis if the Fed hikes interest rates too much? Some argue the Fed will have to be careful to avoid this risk, and that financial crisis dangers will limit the number of hikes they can push through.

Except this argument doesn’t hold up either, because the banks are in great shape today.

After the financial crisis of 2008, the banking system was battered and bruised, having barely survived a near-death experience. But in 2022, the banks are robustly profitable with solid balance sheets.

Not only that, but the banking sector actually likes it when interest rates go up, because higher interest rates at the long end of the curve means fatter profit margins on lending activity.

This is why, thus far in 2022, there is little surprise that financials are the No. 2 best-performing sector in the S&P 500. (No. 1 is energy, which is no surprise either, with oil on its way to $100 per barrel.)

It is also no surprise that, according to Bespoke Investment Group, the Nasdaq — which officially entered 10% correction territory as of the Jan. 19 close — is having its fourth-worst start to a year in history. Most of the extreme froth that built up in markets over the past two years was concentrated in tech stocks.
To sum up, the Federal Reserve doesn’t care about the stock market, and it never did.

This is important to understand because far too many investors still think the Fed will save them — or that Powell cares about saving them — in the event their favorite stocks continue to fall.

In reality, the Federal Reserve engages in stimulative rescue-type actions when the U.S. economy is weak or sluggish, or when a financial crisis in the corporate sector or the banking system looks imminent.

Those conditions do not apply today.

Instead we have inflation read-outs at 40-year highs, wage pressures across the full spectrum of income levels, an oil price heading for $100 per barrel, and a Federal Reserve worried about the pain of waiting too much longer to act.

If you put all those factors together — along with the fact that the market itself is signaling at least four rate hikes in 2022 — you get a picture in which the Fed is prepared to fight inflation aggressively, even if its extended rate hike campaign winds up hurting the stock market.

Until and unless a new financial crisis percolates or the threat of a new downturn or recession looms — and remember, the banks look fine right now, and unemployment is historically low at 3.9% — the Fed

simply won’t care about valuations falling back to earth, or the Nasdaq following its correction path deep into bear market territory.

mercredi 5 janvier 2022

2021 Review of the Russian Economy and Equity Markets

For the Russian market, the end of 2021 saw the outflow of foreign investors’ monetary assets and an accelerated fall of the key indices, against the backdrop of foreign policy tensions and mixed signals from international stock exchanges. Talks about Russia's conflict of Ukraine, aggressive rhetoric between Russia and the West and the risk of imposing a new set of sanctions played a determining role. Geopolitical risks and the toughening tone of Western countries towards Russia make investors forget about external factors for the time being. 

The pandemic, and in particular the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, also continues to have a significant impact on the dynamics of both the global and Russian markets. Additionally, the suspension of trade for Rusnano bonds caused uncertainty and alarm for the whole Russian market.



One of the results of the year was the withdrawal of $220 million of foreign assets from Russian stocks - a record amount since April 2020. However, this behavior went beyond the Russian market. International investors sold assets in almost all emerging markets, fearing a tightening of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy, with investors transferring money into shares of U.S. companies as a result. Ahead of the last Fed meeting in 2021, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sharply tightened his rhetoric, abandoning the term “transitory inflation,” and the Fed’s last meeting suggested three rate hikes are possible in 2022. Global investors reassessed risk and hedged in response, and as a result, cash flows are shifting from emerging markets to the more solid and crisis-resilient developed markets. According to EPFR, developed markets funds raised nearly $34 billion month-to-date by mid-December.


September was the best month for the Moscow Exchange this year, as the index rose to new  historical highs through most of the month, peaking near the end of September. However, Russian indices noticeably declined toward the end of the year amid high inflation and negative expectations from the Central Bank policy. In mid-December, for the first time since April 2021, the MOEX Russia Index dropped to 3,532.29 points, though it then was able to recoup most of its losses. However, experts believe that the decline is primarily due to foreign investors, as Russian investors have long been accustomed to geopolitical tensions, sanctions, rhetoric and other factors that discourage foreign capital. Russian investors know the situation from the inside, they are less susceptible to panic: they observe the growth of dividend yields and plan their buys.

The emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant, as well as news of its rapid spreading, and the accompanying increase in global inflation, have all had an adverse effect on the dynamics of the Russian market. A series of new lockdowns in European countries also greatly affects the situation with stocks in Russia. The U.S. market, however, has taken the corona news from Europe in stride, and there also have not been new lockdowns in the U.S.

At the same time, due to the black swan in the form of a pandemic, a liquidity overhang has been created, with states having to spend significant funds to combat the spread of the virus, and to treat and vaccinate the population. These costs have contributed to inflation. Economic stagnation and pressure on small and medium-sized businesses have led to a significant decline in GDP growth in Russia. It will take time to restore the normal functioning of economic processes and the labor market.

Towards the end of the year, the Central Bank of Russia decided to raise its key rate to 8.5%. This step was not a surprise, especially since the regulator itself had warned about the increase in advance. The reason for such a step was inflation, which exceeded the Bank of Russia’s expectations. The Central Bank expects that this increase of the key interest rate will help slow down the rate of price growth and return inflation to the earlier targeted level of 4% by the end of 2022. The regulator does not rule out that it will need to raise the rate again in the future.

As for the performance of specific companies, VK Company (MCX:VKCODR) (, Petropavlovsk PLC (MCX:POGR) and X5 Retail Group NV (MCX:FIVEDR) are among this year's biggest losers. VK ( is down 40% since the beginning of the year, a record drop among all stocks in the index. Its shares continue to drop past historical lows, trading already below 1,200 rubles. Experts link this trend to the fact that the billionaire Alisher Usmanov sold his stake in VK, followed by Gazprombank buying in and then transferring its stake in VK to Gazprom-Media Holding.

Gold miner Petropavlovsk's shares have fallen 33% since the beginning of the year. In the first half of the year the shares were pressured by the corporate conflict of owners and reduction of production capacities.
Shares of the leading retailer X5 Group also failed to please investors this year, one in which shares dropped 25% from levels seen 18 months ago. The impact of inflation is evident here, as price pressure in the economy led to a widespread rise in the cost of goods and services, as well as food products. It would seem that retail should skim the cream off the top and pass on price increases to customers. But this is not the case - people save more on products where a high marginal markup of the intermediary is allowed, and in the pricing of essential products there are taxes built in.

Despite all the above negative factors, there were success stories in the Russian stock market this year. Some companies demonstrated stable growth and profitability against the background of a shaky market, among them Gazprom (MCX:GAZP), Sberbank Rossii PAO (MCX:SBER), VTB (MCX:VTBR), and NK Rosneft PAO (MCX:ROSN).

Gazprom posted an IFRS profit of 1.59 trillion rubles in the first 9 months of the year, compared to a loss of 202 billion rubles a year earlier. The company expects that it will receive record dividends and have a double-digit dividend yield by the end of 2021.

As for Sberbank, its shares have become the most popular securities in Russian-language social media in 2021, according to a study by Brand Analytics. The second place in the ranking was taken by shares of the already named Gazprom, with third place taken by Yandex NV (MCX:YNDX) (NASDAQ:YNDX). Since the beginning of the year, ordinary and preferred shares of Sberbank went up by about 20%.
VTB's IFRS net profit in the first half of the year increased by 307.2% year-on-year and amounted to 170.6 billion rubles. Moreover, VTB is often cited by experts as one of the best investment opportunities among Russian companies in 2022. The head of the bank Andrei Kostin predicted that by the end of the year VTB's profit will exceed 300 billion rubles. At the same time, top managers have repeatedly announced that they are going to keep plans to pay 50% of net profits to ordinary shares. Presumably, next year VTB will show an unprecedented high dividend yield of about 15%.

At the end of Q3 2021, Rosneft's financial results exceeded forecasts, with net income up 35% on Q2 2021. In addition, a strong factor in the attractiveness of investment in Rosneft is the implementation of a major project, Vostok Oil. Many analysts also consider it an attractive target for investment. The Russian broker BCS included it in a similar list in December. In addition, the largest U.S. investment bank J.P. Morgan also put Rosneft on the list of best global opportunities in 2022. Analysts believe that the oil sector will be the driving force behind economic activity in Russia. The oil price is projected to continue its rise in 2022, with an average expected price of $74 - a level above the annual average for the past 7 years

Also see our Summary of «РОССИЯ ЗОВЕТ!» “RUSSIA CALLING” 2021

lundi 3 janvier 2022


  • Make your goals specific and commit to a detailed plan. Using physical reminders like notes around your house, labels on accounts, or calendarreminders can keep you on track.
  •  Schedule time to make financial decisions.
  • Have a plan for avoiding common money pitfalls like loss aversion. You may be able to sidestep it by working with a financial professional.
  • Automate as much as you can to make financial housekeeping easier and to stick with your plan.


Psychologists and behavioral economists have studied people's behavior around money for decades. All that research has turned up some steps you can take to help support your goals.

1. Pre-commit: Make your goal very specific
For instance, let's say your goal is to make 2022 the year you get physically fit. One way to help support that goal is by making a very specific plan and reinforcing it with supporting actions.
Here's what that means: If your goal is to go to the gym every day at 8 a.m., set an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed on time and wake up early, set out clothes and shoes the night before, and have coffee or water ready. There's less opportunity to think too much or bail out once you've smoothed the way for success.

Research shows that when people commit to saving early (before they've gotten the money) they do it. It's more difficult once the money is in hand and there are bills to pay.

2. Earmark money for specific purposes and give yourself a physical reminder of your goal.

A recent study found that putting cash into a sealed envelope and writing the purpose on the envelope made it harder for people to spend the money on something else.

It's harder to take the money out and use it for something else. There's a mental and emotional hesitancy.
You can use an envelope, a box, or even a bank or brokerage account. Many banks or financial services firms let you label your accounts and that can help reinforce your decisions as you spend and save.

3. Schedule time for finances
If you're waiting for the perfect time to feel ready to do some financial housekeeping, it may never come.
If you want something to happen—put a date on it. People are bad at forecasting when they would feel good but making an appointment with yourself can help you pre-commit to doing the work you may have put off.

4. Know your money personality
Are you an adventurer who constantly searches for the next hot stock to buy or are you a creature of habit who likes to stick with what has worked for you in the past? Both have positive aspects but there may be downsides. Knowing your tendencies toward money can help you rein in risky behavior and play to your strengths.

5. Know your money preferences and learn to work around them
As we navigate the world, making decisions and choosing our paths, our thoughts fall into predictable patterns that can cost us money or lead to bad choices. Our innate preferences are sometimes called biases and they are automatic reactions that we don't always think about carefully—and that can be costly.

Loss aversion is another potentially expensive bias. The fear of losses can be more motivating than potential gains and avoiding losses at all costs can be, well, costly. For long-term investors, the stakes are high—investing appropriately for your time frame and financial situation can be critical to meeting retirement goals or paying for a happy household living.

There are ways to combat this one too. Staying focused on your goals, understanding the history of the stock market, and tuning out anxiety-provoking news can help.

6. Put saving and investing on autopilot
Automatic saving can help keep your savings plan on track no matter what else is going on in your life. Not only can you make saving automatic, you may be able to make investing automatic as well. That can help you avoid tinkering with your investments or trying to time the market as it ebbs and flows.

Building great habits doesn't happen overnight but a little planning can set you up for success in the new year. 

Getting professional help with your investments can be reassuring as well.

Have a Prosperous year

jeudi 9 décembre 2021


As in the past, we participated in the 13th Annual VTB Capital Investment Forum "RUSSIA CALLING!". This year again for the second time the discussions were done at a distance, COVID obliges. Despite the attraction of the Russian capital as always in November Moscow was grey and cold. 

Winter is, of course, Moscow's natural state. The slightest hint of frost brings Russians fumbling for their furs, checking skating rink schedules, ensuring soup ingredients are in full stock. And yet there are constant attempts to challenge its inevitable path. And it is the same for the general state of the economy and the Russian situation the later months.

The macro view of Russia is a mixed bag. The investment view is a bag full of holes .
As I participated in the past, I have to note that Russia still lack inflow of capital in the private companies and need a real development in infrastructure.

There is a very low participation of private Russian capital in the economy. Russia is trapped in an intermediate of development. This is not a cyclical slowdown in Russia. This is a structural one, with a clear mis allocation of resources. 

Although it is true that the and the political and economical sanctions are a heavy weight.

VTB Capital Investment Forum "RUSSIA CALLING!" is held since 2009. Every year the event attracts an authoritative audience, including representatives of government agencies, heads of Russian and international companies, and investors. The agenda of the forum covered the most pressing issues of the global economy, finance and business sectors. The forum's influence and informative value for the business community has been repeatedly recognized.

This year Forum was attended online by business representatives, politicians, managers and interested viewers from 106 countries. Discussions on key economic trends unfolded during the five sessions, broadcast live on leading Russian and international platforms. 

Mr. Yuri Soloviev, First Deputy President and Chairman of VTB Bank summarised the issues and challenges :

"The business world is undergoing fundamental changes - they began long before the pandemic, but Covid has exacerbated and accelerated the development of trends that we are working with today. We see how the infrastructure of entire countries and regions is being rebuilt, how technological and financial ecosystems are changing traditional business models, how the retail investor affects the movement of the market, and the climate agenda determines the long-term prospects for the development of the world's economies. The objective of this year’s forum is to discuss what risks and opportunities this reality opens up for us. There is no doubt that we are in for a race in efficiency - technological, digital, social, communication, legal - across all industries. Can we become winners and what resources do we have, where to find drivers for business transformation and how to adapt to changes - we need to find answers to these important questions.”

The first day of the forum was devoted to the discussing macroeconomics, the transformation of markets and business in post-pandemic conditions, the impact of new strains of coronavirus on the global economy and the transition to work focused on sustainable development priorities.   

During the Plenary session, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin held a traditional conversation with foreign businessmen and investors. In almost two hours, the head of state answered questions about the development of the Russian capital market, the decisions that the Russian authorities make to maintain the financial stability of the country's economy, and the potential for investment in ESG projects in Russia.   

President Putin assured the participants that the Russian government would try to do everything, so that the work of investors on the Russian market would be more effective than in other regions of the world. He emphasized that the work in the real sector of economy was continuing, and expressed hope that the amount of such cooperative effort would only rise. International relations were also addressed: for example, the participants wanted to know Putin’s position on the effect of the US elections on the economy, the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the situation in Belarus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin:
- Global economy recovery rates questionable due to a new COVID strain.
- Instructed the Government to update itsplan to combat coronavirus considering emergence of the new Omicron strain.
- Noted high inflation pressure, leading the world into a new pandemic wave.
- Global price growth caused by a number of reasons, supply chains are disrupted.
- Budget deficit growth and global inflationary risks to stay across the world .
- Food price growth risks increasing globally, felt in Russia as well .
- We need not only to manage inflation outcomes but focus on prevention measures .
- Did not rule out new support measures for residents, based on available resources .
- All social support measures in the RF are within the budget .
- The Bank of Russia’s monetary policy maintains inflation suppression .
- Russia GDP growth over 9 months amounted to 4,6%, 4,2% growth expected by year’s end.
- Labor market in the Russian Federation has fully recovered. The unemployment level in the RF is down to 4,3%.
- Increasing the share of infrastructure investments in the GDP is a long-term priority .
- Up to 2024 inclusively RUB 2,5 trillion will be allocated on a repayable basis for major infrastructure projects.
- Demanded to provide unconditional security of private personal data during digitalization .
- Higher availability of loans to growing promising enterprises going further .
- Russian stock indices climbed the pre-pandemic level .
- Instructed the Government to prepare tax deduction measures for long-term retail stock market investments .

Stock market trends and ESG

The second day of the forum was opened by the session of VTB Capital Investments "Drop in the sea or a tidal wave: what effect do individual investors have on stock markets?" The central theme was the role of private investors in the development of the Russian and foreign capital markets. Speakers and representatives of investment funds, assessed the future of market ESG instruments and global democratization of the stock market, and also identified areas in which investment can bring stable profitability in the coming years.

Participants noted that Russia passed the “Digital Financial Assets” law. But market players still have many questions about the regulatory basis, taxation for digital asset transactions. The lack of a civilized digital asset market in Russia hurts the budget and responsible market players, —There’s no denying the existence of the digital world.

“We spend a lot of time on our mobile phones: seven hours a day on the average across the world. This is why development of a digital asset market is of utmost importance” noted Vladimir Potapov, CEO of VTB Capital Investments, Senior Vice-President of VTB. 

Session on sustainable development "ESG - Right Here! Right Now?” dealt with the role of man in the new ESG realities and the impact of the sustainable development agenda on Russia. The issue of global warming is becoming increasingly urgent. The need to reduce CO2 emissions, to reduce consumption and to switch to alternative energy sources is being talked about all over the world. 

However, the measures that are being taken in an accelerated mode are sure to have an impact on society. That while solving environmental problems it is necessary to remember social problems by reducing poverty and increasing education. 

The Russian economy is preparing for record investments of up to 89 trillion rubles ($1.2 tn) over the next 40 years, to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 60%, when compared to net emissions in 2019. VTB Capital analysed the cost of reduction, capital expenditures and the consequential pressure on prices in individual sectors, as well as how emissions can be reduced in the least costly way and, accordingly, where the bulk of these investments can be directed. 

According to the Central Bank , Russia’s plan to reduce its carbon footprint by 2050 will require investments of between 1 trillion roubles and 4 trillion roubles a year ($13.4 billion to $53.6 billion). Russia, the world's fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will utilise from 1% to 2% of its gross domestic product to cut net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 in the main scenario approved by the government.

Russian companies with businesses that negatively impact the environment have already started implementing principles of sustainable development, but their integration in the global climate agenda remains low, the central bank said. 


mercredi 23 avril 2014

Russia. The subject is rich and exciting.

Before, when we were not the puppets of the Anglo-Saxons and when we still intended to have an autonomous foreign policy, we gave ourselves the time to inquire and to think.

Here is a letter of Talleyrand to the Baron de Bourgoing, the Secretary of France in Saxony: 

May 12th, 1807

My Dear Bourgoing, I would wish that you make a big report or you investigate what is Russia since 1770, what she was at that time, which were, since the first steps and the purposes of her ambition, and what she is today … 

… The work does not offer a simple interest of circumstance; it shows a remarkable period in history. Since 1770 it has been seen the weakening or the disappearance of a part of the nearby States of Russia, the invasion of Crimea in 1783, that of Bessarabia in the following war, the partial subjection of Moldova and Valachia, dismantling of Poland, union of Georgia … 

…. Here is series of facts, you will explain them, you will connect them with the political system of Russia. The subject is rich and exciting. It requires to be treated in depth and carefully and it is for this motive that I entrust you with this work. " 

Before, it was like that, but it was before!

If the West accepts Kiev’s coup-appointed government then it must, in turn, accept the legitimacy of Crimea’s referendum to join with Russia, Lavrov told Irada Zeinalova, the host of the “Sunday Time” analytical program on Russia’s Channel One TV. 
Question: Last week was eventful and quite challenging. You met the representative of the Ukrainian delegation on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. It was the first meeting at the foreign ministers’ level under the current circumstances.However, the only thing the wider audience saw of this meeting was one photograph and only one comment from you. Could you expand a little more on this meeting? What was its general tonality? Obviously, only you could know such things as whether the parties were or were not ready for negotiations. 
Sergey Lavrov: The meeting took place in a calm atmosphere; there was nothing edgy, just a normal talk. I gave my agreement for this contact since I believe it never hurts to use an opportunity to share our vision of possible solutions to the serious crisis in Ukraine with the representatives of the current Ukrainian authorities directly, and also in view of the fact that at the current stage, Kiev is failing to set up a nationwide dialogue based on mutual respect that would equally account for the interests of East and South, as well as other areas of Ukraine, a neighbourly country to us.
‘Ukraine needs end of violence, constitutional reform and federalization’
I confirmed the validity of the proposal we made a while ago, pertaining to the necessity to implement all of the issues registered in the Agreement of the 21 February and signed by Yanukovich, Yatsenyuk, Tyagnibok, Klitchko and Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland. First and foremost, order has to be restored in all cities, all illegal weapons must be surrendered, all buildings that have been taken over illegally must be released, all barriers from streets and squares must be removed, and there must be no more “Maidans” or “mini-Maidans.”
Once these obvious steps aimed at restoring normal law and order are undertaken, the constitutional reform process should be started immediately, which is something that has also been captured in the Agreement of the February 21. We are convinced that the success of this reform can only be ensured by participation of all political forces and movements representing all areas and regions without exception, and each of them must have an equal decision-making opportunity within the framework of these negotiations.
We are convinced that it would be impossible to work out solutions to all of Ukraine’s problems without a unanimous agreement on the introduction of the federal form of government in Ukraine. Each region needs to have the opportunity to elect directly its local authorities, the executive branch and the governors, and to have all the rights and needs of its citizens satisfied across all spheres, including economy, finances, culture, language, social activities or the right for friendly relations and travel to neighboring states, be it Poland, Lithuania or Russia.
We know from experience that the unitary state does not work in Ukraine. After every presidential election they change the Constitution: first they give more power to the president, then to the parliament, after that to the government. This merry-go-round cannot last for long. Federalization is a way to make all the regions feel comfortable, so that every region will know that its rights are being respected. And at the national level, they will have certain things in common, like defense, foreign policy, judiciary. We would be willing to do that – I mean guarantees that external players would offer to Ukraine after it implements these reforms. 
Mr. Deschytsia said our proposal was unacceptable because federalization goes against the fundamental principles of the Ukrainian state. I don’t see why. I’m not aware of any of such principles. Secondly, the idea of making Russian the second official language is unacceptable [for them] as well. This was said against the background of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and other members of the current Ukrainian government saying that in terms of the ethnogenesis, ethnic Russians and the Russian language are not essential to Ukrainian nation. This statement disappointed me because it clearly contradicted history. I explained to my counterpart that such statements are inappropriate. This makes us think that, if the current leadership in Kiev persists in its unwillingness to delegate authority to the regions (and we strongly believe that this can only be done efficiently through federalization), if they continue to ignore ethnic Russians and the Russian language, the constitutional reform which seems to have started in certain areas, would not do any good.
I asked Mr. Deschytsia to tell me more about the reforms that the Rada had initiated. He told me they had set up a special commission to go over the 2004 Constitution and change a few things. I think cosmetic change won’t be enough there. So, that was the end of our conversation.
In The Hague, I had pretty long conversations with US Secretary of State John Kerry, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of other EU member states, and it seemed to me that they know much more about the reforms planned by the parliament and the government it appointed than our Ukrainian counterparts.
‘Rights of Russian-speakers in Ukraine are not guaranteed’
Q: Did the Ukrainian counterparts explain to you how are they going to take into account the interests of the eastern and southeastern parts of Ukraine if their constitutional reform does not involve the Russian language and the rights of Russian-speakers? 
Answer: I didn’t ask them about that. Like I said, they answered that the parliament had set up a special commission, even though we haven’t heard much about it, and that this commission can incorporate into their work a lot of the proposals coming from southern and eastern regions. But I would say it is impossible to do that without inviting all the regions to participate in the body working on the constitutional reform. But so far there has been no such invitation.
‘Russia’s troops in their right to relocate on own territory’
Q: On one hand, US Secretary of State John Kerry, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western politicians claim they are ready for dialogue. But they always qualify that by saying, “unless Russia continues to escalate the confrontation.” By “escalation” they mean our potential actions to protect the rights of Russian-speakers in eastern and southeastern Ukraine. Why do they keep insisting on this? Just this week, NATO reported that our troops were concentrated along the border. 
A: Russian troops are deployed on our territory. From time to time, they have scheduled and unscheduled, surprise exercises. Every respectable nation does that if it wants its armed forces to be combat-ready. Our recent exercise was transparent and fully met all the OSCE standards. We have duly notified our partners about it. After we received requests from other nations, we allowed foreign inspectors, including some from the US and Ukraine, to monitor the exercise.
There is an Open Skies Treaty, which allows aerial surveillance flights over the territory of treaty member states, and such flights took place just a couple of weeks ago following a request by Ukraine. Foreign monitors filed their reports after the inspection, and there was nothing in those reports suggesting that those movements of Russian troops presented any threat. We are not plotting against anybody, and we are still open for a frank conversation. But please note that every nation has the right to move troops around its territory.
‘If West accepts coup-appointed Kiev govt, it must accept a Russian Crimea’
Q: Talking about the Constitution and constitutional reforms in Ukraine, there is an impression that they only bring up this topic now in connection with Crimea. Why our western partners ignore all the constitution and human rights violations done by those who organized the Maidan protests? Does the West deliberately turn a blind eye on all those violations? Or maybe they are just not aware of them? 
A: This is a big question. Unfortunately, I think they do this deliberately. From the very beginning of the certain events in Ukraine, in early November, when the Ukrainian president made a perfectly legitimate decision to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU (just to postpone it, mind you, not to cancel it altogether!), the protests started on Independence Square, with protesters putting up tents, setting up mobile kitchens, portable toilets, etc., and very soon militants from the Right Sector and other radical groups appeared on Maidan — we warned Western countries against patronizing them. They responded, rather indistinctly, that those were legitimate expressions of civilian position. Although, even at that point it was clear that those protests were turning unconstitutional and anti-governmental. 
And then there was a coup, which happened just the next day after President Yanukovich signed an agreement with the opposition in the presence of the foreign ministers of three EU nations. Immediately, they said that a revolution had taken place and that we had to face the facts. They still say that today, when we say that what happened was illegitimate. The PACE committee on legal affairs decided to request an opinion from the Venice Commission as to whether what happened in Ukraine was legitimate, but the motion was blocked. The Venice Commission did not receive the request, largely due to the secretariat of the Council of Europe manipulating various technical regulations regarding Council of Europe activities.
‘West refuses to accept awkward reality’ 

They keep on telling us that “When it’s gone, it’s gone,” “it can’t be undone,” “let bygones be bygones,” and “let’s be constructive about it and think how you can call off your decision regarding Crimea.” I’m not exaggerating; that’s literally what they keep saying to us. My response is very simple. Even if we don’t compare the legitimacy of what happened on Maidan and what happened in Crimea (and I am absolutely sure that the first was an unlawful act while the latter was the expression of the will of the people, with so many people voting in favor of reunification with Russia, it is simply impossible to challenge) — so, even if we forget about that, it makes absolutely no sense for a diplomat to say that you have to accept what happened on Maidan as reality but what happened in Crimea is not reality. This is a dirty trick. If they are willing to accept the first reality, then they definitely have to accept another one.
‘We had no other choice for Crimea’
Q: You are Russia’s top diplomat. As the decision regarding Crimea was being made, you certainly considered the possible reaction of the western counterparts. Does reality match your expectations? Did you expect a more moderate or a tougher response? 
A: We cannot do otherwise but consider the consequences of every diplomatic step we take. In this case, it was not an act of diplomacy; it was a fundamental step of national importance. Besides that, this issue could not be held dependent on a negative, positive or any other sort of reaction from other countries that had nothing to do with it. After the Crimean referendum made it absolutely clear that the people of Crimea want to be with the Russian Federation, we had no choice. Frankly, the Russian leadership in general and the president in particular did not have any other choice. We could not betray ethnic Russians and Crimeans after they made their choice through an extremely democratic and transparent procedure.
‘Western sanctions vs Russia a decent way of expressing offense’
Q: The reaction we’re receiving from the West is sanctions. The officials in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are very weird; they say they want to expel Russia from PACE. How serious would it be if Russia has to leave this political forum? Did you expect such a strong reaction? Although some people say it’s softly. 
A: We didn’t bother to ponder what kind of reaction we’ll see. We had no choice. The choice we made was based on all of our modern history, on the international law, on Russia’s statehood, on our responsibility for the ethnic Russians who suddenly found themselves living in another country. And the way it happened had nothing to do with international law.
You know how the agreements in Belovezhskaya Pushcha (to break up the Soviet Union) were accorded, when those who talk so much about international law today gave a standing ovation to that act. They had no reservations about the legitimacy of what happened back then.
As for introducing sanctions – this is a dead-end track. There is a feeling that our Western partners have been working to ‘tear’ Ukraine away from Russia for years. When they realized that they were wrong and that they had made a mistake by undermining all the agreements we made after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they couldn’t admit it. Misunderstood feeling of pride got involved. So the reflective sanctioning we’re observing right now looks like an attempt to express their frustration through the most possibly decent means.
I’m not mincing words now, because I tell the same to my [foreign] colleagues. In our one-on-one conversations, they all ask me to understand the situation and walk in their shoes, because “the West cannot put up with such developments,” they say that “We do understand you, but we are a team, and we all have to speak with one voice.” But this is something from the previous era, when there were two blocs, two geopolitical strategic opponents facing each other. Back then, it was “either-or”; “either you’re with us or you’re against us.” We have left this concept behind long time ago. But, unfortunately, many decision-makers in the West still have this mentality.
I’m not saying that these sanctions are ridiculous or that we don’t care about them. They are nasty. It is very obvious that the West wants to make sanctions look personal, to present them as if they target individuals. Well, we don’t enjoy those sanctions but we don’t feel any pain either. We’ve seen much harder times.
‘Russia won’t obey the western rules’ 
Russia’s relationship with the West has been quite eventful in the post-Soviet period. We were welcomed to the democratic world, because they expected us to follow their orders and observe all the rules created by the west in this segment of the Christian civilization. This is not partnership, but rather an attempt to take under control a non-aligned geopolitical ‘turf’. We saw that attitude exposed in developments in Ukraine. We saw how desperate the West was to drag Ukraine into its orbit, without paying attention to the interests of the Ukrainian economy, culture and the nation. Ukraine is a very complex, multi-ethnic and multicultural country. The ultimate motive behind all that was to separate Ukraine from Russia. Remember how Zbigniew Brzezinski said that with Ukraine Russia is a great power, yet without Ukraine Russia is not something less significant?
Incidentally, I was taken aback by what the US President Barack Obama said about Russia being a regional power and about the costs we will have to pay. We did not lose any lives when we responded to the legitimate choice of the Crimean people. The ‘games’ the American played in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yugoslavia have cost thousands of lives. There is always a price, but in every case it is different. 
A screen shows the vote of delegates in the General Assembly about the draft resolution territorial integrity of Ukranine at the U.N. headquarters in New York March 27, 2014. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)
‘Countries pressured into voting for UN Assembly resolution on Ukraine’
Q: Do you think that the UN General Assembly vote on the resolution regarding Ukraine and Crimea has demonstrated that the world is no longer unipolar? A hundred nations voted for the resolution drafted by the West, and then there were 93 nations that supported Russia’s position on Crimea, voted against the resolution, were not present or abstained. A hundred and 93 – this is practically parity. Do you think the UN in its current state is capable of responding properly to challenges of the international politics? 
A: The pressure mounted in connection with this resolution was extreme. We know there were not just demands to endorse this openly provocative resolution. There were if not threats, then reminders about “consequences”. A country that refuses to toe the line would not get a loan, or some kind of a visit would be canceled.
In addition to officially declared sanctions, other measures are also being taken that amaze us. Our diplomats in EU countries are denied appointed meetings with foreign ministries. We know that the US and EU diplomats in Moscow have been instructed not to attend events where blacklisted officials may appear. This absolutely contradicts the very purpose of diplomacy. Diplomacy is the art of talking and working out agreements. Using diplomats as instruments of your sanction policies is something totally different.
Now a few words about the vote on the resolution and the balance of power in the world. I meet with John Kerry on a regular basis. I am amazed at how the Europeans have delegated the decision-making on the Ukrainian issue to Washington when it comes to relations with Russia. As we have already said on multiple occasions, they talk about setting up a contact group. The idea of this group is that Europe and America will ‘oversee’ how Russia and Ukraine are trying to reach some kind of an agreement. This is unacceptable, because the problem is not in our bilateral relations with Ukraine; the problem is that there is a severe crisis of statehood in Ukraine.
‘West’s duplicity and inconsistency obstructs dialogue over Ukraine’
That’s why we suggested a different approach. If our Western partners agree, Russia, US and the EU might form a support group for Ukraine and address the current Kiev authorities together, encouraging them to open a nationwide dialogue. They should invite all political forces without exception (excluding the armed militants, of course) and all regions to join the discussion as equal partners. As a result, they will produce a new constitution, which will define Ukraine as a federation, reaffirm and guarantee that Ukraine’s status of a non-aligned state, and protect the rights of all the ethnic groups in Ukraine. Of course the rights of ethnic Russians is a priority for us, but the same attitude also applies to Czechs, Hungarians, Germans and other minorities living there.
If our partners are ready, we’re open to the broadest dialogue possible.
But the first step the current Ukrainian authorities must take is offering a hand of friendship to all of the Ukrainian people, to all of the regions, and invite them to an equal and open dialogue regarding the future of their country. If they take this approach, we would be wide open to cooperation. 
We don’t have any hidden agenda. We want Ukraine to be a peaceful, stable and friendly nation. We absolutely respect its right to engage in cooperation with Russia, Europe, America and whoever they want. We may achieve a lot if we use this approach.
When we talk to our American partners, they tell us, “First, let’s de-escalate the situation. We should both influence those people who listen to us in Ukraine, encourage them to calm down, stop attacking each other, and engage in some sort of a dialogue.” We are ready to do that, and that’s the message we have been sending. I hope that Americans and Europeans are also sending a similar message (and the events of the last few days seem to indicate that they are).
For example, we have long since asked them to do one simple thing: we asked our Western partners and the current Ukrainian authorities to make a statement regarding their position on the Right Sector – and we’re not even talking about taking measures to prevent the ultranationalists from going out of control. Only recently we started to see the first reactions to our request. That is probably due to the fact that the glorious picture that our Western colleagues had been painting has proven to be wrong and that everyone can see now that involvement with the radical forces can have extremely grave consequences, especially in matters of maintaining power and control.
I hope that the steps the authorities in Kiev are undertaking now to ban the radical formations and to have the agreement for all illegally possessed weapons surrendered fully and unconditionally will be implemented, and I hope that the West will facilitate it.
While inviting us to participate in such a dialogue and assuring us via bilateral contacts of their readiness to facilitate the normalization of the situation, our partners are nonetheless being inconsistent because what they are doing at the same time on public platforms including the UN General Assembly is different: they are encouraging there quite confrontational and contentious statements that are bordering on insults, which is not helping with creating a positive framework for a normal dialogue. This double-standard approach is very disruptive to the process.
‘EU giving visas only to Crimean Ukrainians would be gravestviolation of humanrights’ 
Q: There are some leaks from the EU implicating that the citizens of Crimea will only be granted Schengen visas if they apply in Kiev. If this is true and the decision has been made, this part of the sanctions is a pure provocation! To your knowledge, has the decision been made or not yet? 
A: As far as I know the decision has not been made yet. But such talks are indeed taking place, and in a quite strange manner at that. The talk is about introducing the rules that would oblige citizens of Crimea wishing to obtain a Schengen visa to enter Ukraine and apply for it at the Ukrainian i.e. non-domestic consular post, and they would need a Ukrainian passport for that. At the same time, they are talking about a visa-free regime to Ukraine for all EU states. Ukraine has unilaterally introduced a visa-free regime for all EU citizens and applied this regime to travel to Crimea. They are discussing such approaches seriously and publicly. They do not talk to us. They are discussing it internally thinking that once they make the decision it will be complied with. This is unacceptable. This is a crude violation of human rights.
People who live in Crimea and have chosen to be Russian citizens have nothing to do with any geopolitical matters. They simply want to live in a state that is home to their language, culture, and their “gene pool.” If the EU goes through with such steps, I am sure will we respond in a way that would make the EU understand the unacceptability of such a grave abuse of human rights.
Q: Will there be a response to Kiev’s announcement about introducing a visa regime for Russian citizens? They seem to be undecided whether to go through with it or not. If they do, is Russia ready to introduce a visa regime for Ukrainian citizens in response? 
A: I believe it would be an unwise thing to do. And I think Kiev has already given this idea up. Someone quick-tempered must have articulated the thought. It has already been denounced, so I believe it is not a valid for discussion anymore. 
Q: The members of the Right Sector were recently called Kremlin spies, presumably because only enemy spies can damage the country’s reputation to such an extent. Earlier, Yulia Timoshenko implicitly confirmed her statements where she called for bombing of Russia and exterminating the Russian population. Do you bring these extremist statements to the attention of your Western counterparts? Obviously, you can’t turn a blind eye when a presidential candidate is speaking out like this. 
A: These statements, of course, are pure rhetoric. The list of presidential candidates features not only Timoshenko, but also figures like Yarosh and Tyagnibok, who is a member of the coalition and the leader of the Svoboda party. The party’s platform still relies on the principles set forth in the declaration signed by Ukrainians in June 1941 which is basically an oath of allegiance to Hitler and his new order in Europe. Again, this is still part of the official platform of the Svoboda party. 
‘Moscow has info that Right Sector was behind snipers shootings’ 
Q: Are we the only people who know about it? 
A: No, I mentioned this to my Western partners a few times. When I brought this up, one of my key partners hesitated a bit at first and then said: “We’re watching Svoboda, but they’re members of the coalition and they’re moving towards the political mainstream.” It’s very hard to react to that, because that’s a level of a dialogue with facts in hands. Still, that is how it is.
As for the radials in Ukraine, we keep drawing attention to that. And those who said that Moscow’s hand was behind the Right Sector – I will let it weigh on their conscience.
We have factual information – which I have presented to my counterparts – about whose embassy maintained contacts with the Right Sector, and whose embassy its leaders visited all the time; whose representatives were always staying on Maidan, in the buildings controlled by the Right Sector from there [the movement] was orchestrating many of its acts of violence including sniper shootings. Let it weigh on the conscience of those who were involved in such exercises.
Q: Are you saying it was the Right Sector who coordinated sniper shootings? 
A: We have such information. 
Q: Did you share this evidence with your Western partners? 
A: We have shared our concerns and suspicions with them. I can’t claim that it is 100 percent true, but there are a lot of facts that point to that. Of course, it must be double-checked. I hope that the investigation announced by the current Ukrainian authorities will be completed and won’t be swept under the rug.
Q: We’ve have repeatedly heard that Russian pilots of Russian airlines are not allowed to rest in Ukraine in violation of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) rules. This is a threat to flight safety of both Russian and Ukrainian passengers. The Russian Foreign Ministry says that the situation has not changed. This week it happened again. What can be done in this situation – when it’s a question of the life of our citizens?
 A: As far as demands are concerned, we have probably done everything possible. We filed a protest with Ukraine and ICAO demanding that our crews be allowed to leave the aircraft so that they would be able to rest normally in a hotel for several hours instead of sitting crooked and waiting for takeoff. So far, we haven’t received any sensible response. I hope we will get it shortly. You’re absolutely right, it’s a safety problem. Alternatively, we could stop flights [to Ukraine].But I don’t think it is in anyone’s interest. 
Q: Don’t you feel that things like not allowing pilots to leave the plane, denying visas for ordinary Crimeans and calling Russia ‘a regional power’ – all these are just some… 
A: Petty things.
Q: Yes, petty things. It’s so strange that people may react in this way when the future of a big country, Europe’s and Russia’s partner, is at stake. It’s like cutting off the nose to spite the face. 
A: I’m not so much surprised by the pettiness of those who have seized power in Ukraine. But the pettiness of their Western sponsors is amazing. 
Q: Unexpectedly amazing? 
A: Yes, unexpectedly. Because these are large countries, serious people, supporters of democracy, and defenders of justice. But leaders are becoming petty, and you and I are not the first ones to notice that.