The business forums and conferences covered similar topics: economic partnerships, sanctions against Russia, business projects, and prospects for bilateral cooperation.
The main Days of Moscow event in Venice was the economic forum “Italian business in Russia: a path of success and creation,” which took place at a picturesque location in a famous resort - the island San Giorgio Maggiore. During his opening speech at the plenary meeting, President of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Chairman of Intesa Sanpaolo Giovanni Bazoli noted that even during the worst years of the Cold War, Venice was the location of choice for peaceful meetings and an open dialogue between the East and the West. “I know Moscow fairly well,” he said, “every visit to this city brings me new discoveries, especially when it comes to business and culture. I am always impressed by the changes that Russia and its capital are currently going through.”
“Our forum will enable us to get to know each other even better,” Giovanni Bazoli added, “Local business representatives would like to know about Moscow’s industrial potential. Even though ties between the Russian capital and Venice continue to successfully develop across many spheres, first and foremost in industrial manufacturing, culture, and tourism, our goal is to strengthen and develop this successful collaboration.”
The Fund’s President recalled a historical fact. In 1698, Peter the Great came to visit Venice incognito. That's when the Russian tsar made the decision to build Saint Petersburg, which he referred to as “Northern Venice.” “Remembering this today, Italians and Russians can be inspired to build comfortable living environments in their cities, as well as to strengthen peace and cooperation in Europe,” he said.
Minister of the Moscow Government and Head of the Moscow Department of External Economic and International Relations Sergey Cheremin told the forum participants about the investment potential of the Russian capital. “The losses due to tensions that arose between Russia and the EU affected many sectors of the Italian economy. Sanctions against Russia are counterproductive. A lot of business people today, including Italian businessmen, understand this,” the minister said, “The trade war has already resulted in losses that amount to over 10 billion euros after a drop in exports of Italian products to Russia. Venice alone lost over 3 billion euros, and this had an especially devastating effect on the region’s agro industrial complex. Today, Moscow is one of the most rapidly developing mega-cities in the world. The city’s budget, which is comparable to New York and Tokyo, enables the city administration to not only improve the city’s infrastructure, but also continue its socio-economic development, investing a lot of funds in healthcare, education, and culture.”
“The city government does a lot to establish a comfortable urban environment, as well to develop and upgrade transportation. We are developing an industrial zone program and are transforming these zones into accelerated development areas - technoparks and industrial clusters. There is tremendous potential for foreign investors here,” the head of the Department of External Economic and International Relations said.
After Venice, Days of Moscow moved on to Milan. Here, the most prominent event was the opening of a Moscow information stand dedicated to problems in the tourism sector and the 2018 FIFA World Cup right in the city center - Piazza 24 maggio.
“There are several reasons that prompted us to open a Moscow information stand in Milan,” said the head of the Moscow government delegation Sergey Cheremin, “Firstly, it was because Italians make up one of the largest tourist groups that visit the Moscow region. In terms of the number of tourists who come to Moscow, only China, Germany, and France are ahead of Italy. Second, Russia will be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018, and Italians are in love with this sport. Fans may have questions about visas, hotels in the city, service, and so on.”
A small presentation entitled “The Moscow 2017-2018 Event Calendar” took place within the scope of the opening ceremony for the informational point. The presentation contained information about more than 500 events that may be of interest to tourist and football fans.
Afterward, representatives from the Moscow delegation and Milan locals visited the open-air photo exhibition “Moscow Today.” The showcased photographs gave people from Milan a chance to learn about Moscow’s modern architecture and about the city’s past, to take a look at the Moscow mansions that are being restored within the scope of the large-scale program aimed at the preservations of the city’s cultural heritage. The program is currently being implemented by the Moscow government.
On September 21, the Sala Convegni Intesa Sanpaolo hosted the business forum “Moscow - Milan: building cities of the future while preserving traditions,” which brought together famous Italian and Russian politicians, business representatives, artists, and cultural figures. Alexander Nurizade, the Consul General of the Russian federation in Milan, gave the opening speech at the plenary meeting. “Similar processes are taking place in Russia and Italy today: many key global issues are being resolved at the regional level,” he said, “This is especially important in the current challenging climate, when governments are not able to agree on global issues. But at the regional level, you can reach an agreement on just about any issue. Not to mention cooperation in spheres like culture or the economy.”
“This is exactly what the Government of Moscow is currently doing. In this specific case, this entails active cooperation with Italian regions, including with Milan. And it’s great that there is a similar effort from the Milan government.”
During his speech at the forum, head of the Moscow delegation Sergey Cheremin said that the introduction of anti-Russian economic sanctions was a blow to Moscow. But Russians quickly recovered from the shakeup, rolled up their sleeves, and got to work. The economy slowly started to recover.
“The first six months of 2017 showed that trade turnover growth between Moscow and Italy amounted to over 40%,” the minister said, “The positive trend continues today. The statistics on Russian-Italian trade turnover, which grew by another 20% in the second quarter of 2017, speaks to this fact. We can strengthen and develop this positive trend, and we have a lot of potential to do so.
“Right now, it’s important for us to preserve interregional ties. In this context, Milan is one of the prominent example of friendship between peoples, between city administrations and the people who live there, as well as an example of a pragmatic approach of businessmen from both countries,” Sergey Cheremin said.
Genoa hosted a meeting between members of the Moscow delegation and the city’s mayor Marco Bucci. The two sides discussed the current state of and development prospects for trade-economic relations between the two cities.
According to the head of the Department of External Economic and International Relations, Moscow currently has a lot of partners in Italy. With Genoa, the dialogue is still in progress. “We’re in the beginning. But I want to say that that it’s love at first sight,” the minister said. He also expressed hope that Days of Genoa in Moscow.
The business forum “Moscow-Genoa: smart city - the future or reality?” was an important part of Days of Moscow in Italy. The discussions took place in the famous Palazzo Ducale, which was built in the second half of the 18th century.
During his speech at the plenary meeting, President of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vladimir Platonov reminded the audience that Genoa is a very significant city for Russia. In 1922, the city broke the economic blockade of Soviet Russia. “It’s been 90-some years and we’re here again, in Genoa. And there are Western sanctions against Russia again now. But the world has changed. There are countries and regions, including Italy, that do not want to quarrel, that want to live in peace and harmony. For this reason, inter-regional cooperation between major cities in Europe and Moscow is rapidly developing. In many ways, this is happening thanks to the people’s diplomacy. The Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to create the necessary conditions for full-fledged, mutually beneficial cooperation. I hope we are successfully accomplishing this together with our Italian colleagues,” Mr. Platonov said.
“Today we have a chance to significantly expand the partner relations between Russian and Italian companies,” Mr. Cheremin said during his presentation, “For us, holding this forum is a unique opportunity to tell Italians about what’s happening in Russia today, what kind of development strategy the Government of Moscow has chosen.”
Days of Moscow in Italy officially ended in Liguria’s main opera theatre Teatro Carlo Felice. Before the performance of the State Chamber Orchestra “Virtuosos of Moscow,” the head of the Moscow government delegation, minister, and head of the Department of External Economic and International Affairs Sergey Cheremin ascended the stage. Addressing a full auditorium with a final speech, he thanked the Italians for the warm welcome they extended to the Moscow delegation.
“We are glad to note that Moscow and a number of regions in Italy are developing partnerships and friendly ties. During the Days of Moscow, we held business forums, conferences, round tables, and signed a number of mutually beneficial agreements. There were performances by Moscow’s creative collectives everywhere, as well as athletic competitions. We tried to aim all of this at strengthening economic ties between two countries, to the mutual enrichment of our cultures,” the head of the Department of External Economic and International Affairs said.
Days of Jerusalem in Moscow
Days of Jerusalem were held in Moscow on September 14-17. A delegation from Jerusalem headed by the city’s mayor Nir Barkat came to the Russian capital in order to participate in the events.
Shared problems can be effectively solved together
Moscow and New York discussed prospects for cooperation.
Continuing the tradition of friendship and cooperation
Moscow Days took place in Astana on August 23-26.
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