Opening a massive investor conference in St Petersburg, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has pledged to make his country one of the world’s top five economies by 2020. The man widely tipped as a possible successor to Vladimir Putin said foreign investors, along with the state, would play a key role in building Russia into one of the world’s leading nations:
“The Russian people have made their historical choice for democracy, openness and the freedom of society and business initiatives,” he said.
This from a man who, like the Russian president, comes from a long career in the intelligence services, prompting concerns from
about his commitment to free market.
In the past weeks alone, Moscow has raised the prospect of a new arms race in response to US plans for a missile shied in Europe.
The conference will also be the scene of bilateral meetings between Putin and a number of political leaders.
A major deal has already been announced between Boeing and Russia’s leading air company Aeroflot which has ordered 22 aircraft from the US planemaker.