Medvedev Wants Russia to Stop Scaring Business

Dmitri Medvedev. source: AP (c)Russian President Dmitri Medvedev feels it’s high time that the country’s security services and government officials stop “causing nightmares” for business. As the Interfax news agency reports on July 31st, Medvedev made the vocal announcement while speaking at a conference for small and mid-sized businesses in the Smolensk oblast city of Gagarin. During the televised meeting, the Russian leader also went back and reiterated that the business community must pay taxes honestly.

“Inspections and various kinds of harassment for commercial reasons have pestered the life out of [businesspeople],” Medvedev said. “In short, our law enforcement agencies and government authorities need to stop causing nightmares for business.”

“We need to create a normal investment climate in our country.”

Medvedev’s statements sounded like soothing words for investors after a verbal assault on one company by former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sent Russia’s stock market tumbling last week. Putin, who hand-picked Medvedev as his successor to the presidency, criticized Mechel, a coal and steel company, for tax-evasion during a televised meeting. His statements, which he reiterated Monday, dropped Mechel’s capitalization by some 8 billion dollars, and shook investor confidence in the Russian market.

Medvedev also announced that he had signed a new plan for battling corruption. According to the effort, which will be spearheaded by the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Naryshkin, a federal law on combating corruption must be enacted by October 1st.

Russia has lost ground in recent years in international corruption rankings. According to Transparency International, an independent watchdog of global corruption, Russia has become one of the most corrupt countries in the world, slipping to 143rd place out of 160 countries surveyed.

“Signals hold a very important meaning in our country,” Medvedev said. “Consider that this signal has been given. There is a law on this topic, and we will enact supplemental documents. But the most important thing is that there be an understanding of what shouldn’t be done.”