Russia Urges Syrian President To Meet With Moderate Rebels

“I do not rule out that the armed opposition, if it does not stand for extremist or terrorist views, could very well be represented,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters. “By the way, this is something that President Assad has said as well.” World powers agreed last month to schedule the first direct negotiations between Assad’s regime and the rebels in Geneva in mid-November. The so-called Geneva 2 talks follow a failed round of negotiations between world powers over the crisis in the same city in June 2012. Russia has backed Assad’s government throughout the 30-month conflict and is the chief architect of a Syrian chemical weapons disarmament plan that was backed by the United Nations Security Council following the August 21 nerve agent attack near Damascus. This year’s Geneva meeting has been repeatedly delayed because of disagreements between Moscow and the West about who should be party to the talks. Lavrov stressed that it was up to Western and Arab governments to make sure that representatives of the armed opposition agreed to attend the Geneva meeting despite growing differences among their ranks. But he questioned whether the West could manage to do this by November. “Until recently, we expected our Western partners, who committed themselves to bring the opposition to the conference, that they would be able to do this fairly quickly,” Lavrov said. “But they did not manage to do it quickly. I do not know if they will manage to do it by the middle of November.”

I do not rule out that the armed opposition, if it does not stand for extremist or terrorist views, could very well be represented, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters. By the way, this is something that President Assad has said as well. World powers agreed last month to schedule the first direct negotiations between Assads regime and the rebels in Geneva in mid-November. The so-called Geneva 2 talks follow a failed round of negotiations between world powers over the crisis in the same city in June 2012. Russia has backed Assads government throughout the 30-month conflict and is the chief architect of a Syrian chemical weapons disarmament plan that was backed by the United Nations Security Council following the August 21 nerve agent attack near Damascus. This years Geneva meeting has been repeatedly delayed because of disagreements between Moscow and the West about who should be party to the talks. Lavrov stressed that it was up to Western and Arab governments to make sure that representatives of the armed opposition agreed to attend the Geneva meeting despite growing differences among their ranks. But he questioned whether the West could manage to do this by November. Until recently, we expected our Western partners, who committed themselves to bring the opposition to the conference, that they would be able to do this fairly quickly, Lavrov said. But they did not manage to do it quickly. I do not know if they will manage to do it by the middle of November. [Image via Agence France-Presse]

Russia Enters New Era of Stagnation

Scope Independent market sizing of Russian HNWIs across five wealth bands HNWI volume, wealth and allocation trends from 2007 to 2011 HNWI volume, wealth and allocation forecasts to 2016 HNWI and UHNWI asset allocations across 13 asset classes Number of UHNWIs in each city City wise breakdowns of UHNWI volumes and volume growth from 2007 to 2011, as well as 2016 forecasts Number of wealth managers in each city City wise ratings of wealth management saturation and potential Details of the development, challenges and opportunities of the Wealth Management and Private Banking sector in Russia Size of the local wealth management industry Largest private banks in Russia by AuM Detailed wealth management and family office information Insights into the drivers of HNWI wealth Reasons To Buy The WealthInsight Intelligence Center Database is an unparalleled resource and the leading resource of its kind. Compiled and curated by a team of expert research specialists, the Database comprises up to one hundred data-points on over 100,000 HNWIs from around the world. It also includes profiles on major private banks, wealth managers and family offices in each country. With the Database as the foundation for our research and analysis, we are able obtain an unsurpassed level of granularity, insight and authority on the HNWI and wealth management universe in each of the countries and regions we cover. Comprehensive forecasts to 2016. Detailed information on UHNWIs in each major city. Key Highlights As of 2011, there are just over 159,500 HNWIs in Russia, with a combined wealth of US$941 billion. The total number of HNWIs in Russia decreased by 18.1% during the review period (20072011), while HNWI wealth declined by 25%. WealthInsight research shows that over 35% of Russian HNWI wealth was held offshore at the end of 2011. The current wealth management leaders in Russia are UBS and Credit Suisse with local AuM of US$15 billion and US$10 billion respectively. Other prominent foreign players include Pictet and Goldman Sachs. The leading locally based private banks are UFG Invest, Troika Dialog and Third Rome.

Russia – The Future of HNWIs to 2016: The Land of Oil and Gas

In other words, Russia’s economy might not be growing at all if the government wasn’t pouring oil money into subsidies and infrastructure projects, such as the preparations for the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and the soccer World Cup in 2018. The private investment needed to replace the government spending, he wrote, isnt coming, in part because investors have an “understandable lack of trust in public institutions.” Besides, private business has a hard time competing with state-owned behemoths: State-controlled banks, for example, hold 53 percent of the Russian economy’s entire loan portfolio. “We are at a crossroads,” Medvedev wrote. “Russia can continue going forward in slow motion, with economic growth close to zero, or it can take a serious step forward.” The second path “is fraught with risk,” while the first “leads to a precipice.” Few economists would argue with the diagnosis. “The head of the cabinet has largely learned to name the correct reasons for the country’s predicament,” Maxim Blant wrote on the opposition website ej.ru. Sergey Aleksashenko, director of macroeconomic studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, agreed : “It’s a good thing that this has at least been said.” The biggest flaw in Medvedev’s lengthy program, critics said, was the paucity of solutions. All he offered was a slowdown in tariff increases at Russia’s state-owned utilities and some small-business support in the form of tax breaks, loans and government contracts. He also expounded on the need to turn Moscow into an international financial center. “And that’s it,” Aleksashenko wrote. “What about safeguarding property rights and the quality of the judicial system, shrinking the state and using government resources effectively, what about privatization and infrastructure?” Medvedev’s article does not contain the word “corruption” or mention capital flight, expected to reach $70 billion this year. It offers no specific measures to foster competition, the focus of the latest World Bank report on Russia. “Every month the Russian Statistics Committee surveys 25,000 entrepreneurs, trying to find out what obstacles they face, and every time they give the same answers: taxes, bureaucratic pressure, corruption,” Igor Nikolaev, head of strategic analysis at the audit firm FBK, told the web site Expert Online. “How long will the government close its eyes to that, merely pretending that it’s doing something?” Some worry that Russia could be entering a new era of stagnation — a term most associated with the tenure of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. “A crisis is a situation you can enter and exit, but stagnation is a situation with unpredictable consequences,” said Economics Minister Alexei Ulyukayev, according to Vedomosti.