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Opening Asia for Russia

26.07.2021 40 просмотров

Alexander Lebedev, General Director of the media resource "Greater Asia" is talking with the Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations Sergey Cheremin. 

- For the fourth season, the program “Moscow is the best city on Earth!” is being aired, and our current the conversation will be devoted to this program. Over the course of four seasons, we have developed a lot of interesting topics, and now we have twelve more programs to shoot. I have a direct question: do you watch these programs yourself, find the time?

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- Of course! For me, the cycle of these programs is very informative, because over the past 10 years Moscow has changed so dramatically that we can proudly and with full confidence say that this is really the best city on Earth, not only in our perception, the Muscovites themselves, but also those who comes to our capital as guests or stays here to work as representatives of foreign companies or representatives of the diplomatic corps. Therefore, when you hear enthusiastic statements about how the city has become safe, prosperous, interesting, educational, with a huge number of different events, festivals, concerts, working museums - all this creates a unique atmosphere, and especially from the lips of our foreign guests and participants in your program high marks sound very flattering. This is probably why Moscow leads in many international ratings, including as one of the most attractive tourist destinations, as a city that has received an international award for the most beautiful, colorful festivals. 

Moscow has become unique in that it is really a holiday city, more than 230 days a year we have competitions, festivals, Moscow seasons. These are our winter festivals - a Christmas fairy tale and the Journey to Christmas festival, which today has already become the largest Christmas holiday in the world, and probably broke all records, can safely be entered into the Guinness Book of Records. These are our festivals "Moscow Seasons", this is the Festival of Light, this is the festival "Moscow Jam" and many other events that attract millions of Muscovites and those who wish to get acquainted with the life of the Russian capital to the streets of the city. These are unique sports holidays – everyone still fondly remembers the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which was unusual in its emotional richness, when more than a million foreign fans visited Moscow, and we did not have a single serious criminal incident or clash or clashes between fans. All this creates a unique atmosphere, and of course it is very pleasant when foreign businessmen, the heroes of your programs and representatives of various diplomatic missions, ambassadors of foreign states talk about how they empathize with life in the city, how interesting it is - I sometimes find out for myself many new things by looking at the stories your show is about. And it seems to me that the annual cycle is already a long time for, say, such an undertaking, so I want to wish these programs to continue and cover all aspects of our so many-sided life in the city of Moscow.



- Thank you very much from the TV channel and from the brigade, who is working on this particular project. What you say is an inexhaustible topic for promoting Moscow, and we are making the English format of this program, a little different, « Capital Idea< /a> < b>Life". More and more representatives of the expert community are watching this program, and it seems to me that all channels should talk about the social projects promoted by Moscow, because filming these programs for the fourth season, we We open up a lot of new things. And no matter how much we want to get away from the topic of covid, last year it brings us back to how Moscow is fighting the infection, how vaccination is going on. Please tell us how the Department works in this direction.

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- If we talk about the development of the social sphere, namely, the health care of the city, then it must be emphasized that, probably, for the first time the budget of Moscow is so socially oriented. Last year, when it was approved by the Moscow City Duma, funds allocated for the development of the social sphere amounted to more than 55 percent of the city's entire budget. This is an unprecedented figure, and our successes in health care, successes in education, in social protection of the poor, in supporting pensioners, providing benefits to schoolchildren, students, other categories of citizens, funds allocated for the development of libraries, social infrastructure, including including the creation of multifunctional centers, the provision of city services - all this creates a unique information environment and a sense of social security, which, it seems to me, also played a serious role when Muscovites faced a serious challenge, which was the arrival of the new COVID virus epidemic. -19. 

And in the context of the pandemic, Moscow and its residents showed amazing solidarity with the decisions that were made by the city’s leadership when we were forced to introduce a complete lockdown for some time. And practically we have not met people on the streets idly walking or enjoying the city landscapes. When restrictions were imposed on the activities of Moscow enterprises, we were well aware that all this could lead to serious social consequences, but the policy of Moscow Mayor Sergei Semyonovich Sobyanin, all the efforts that our colleagues from the economic bloc made to support small and medium-sized businesses as much as possible, provide subsidies, benefits, including financial guarantees, to alleviate the consequences of the pandemic that we all face. It was and is a serious test of all life support systems of the city, social sphere and healthcare. And our colleagues have shown that they can cope with very serious challenges. These are our builders, who built new hospital buildings or created observatories in the shortest possible time. These are our amazing doctors who have shown themselves to be real heroes in the fight for the lives of Muscovites, for their health. These are, of course, Muscovites, who at first showed high discipline, but unfortunately later, as happens in our nature, we relaxed a little, and as a result, the time period that we could use to conduct a quick effective vaccination campaign. 


Unfortunately, our citizens delayed and, despite the efforts of both Sergei Semyonovich Sobyanin and our colleagues who explained in all possible forums, in all their speeches, they pointed out that only mass vaccination could be a panacea for this disaster, but, unfortunately, many did not listen, and we were faced with a new wave of the pandemic that came in June. I would like to wish all of us that we pass with minimal losses, but everyone understands that the situation is quite serious. Of course, today we see an increase in those wishing to be vaccinated, we have no problems with providing appropriate conditions, clinics, there is no shortage of vaccines. Therefore, I, too, taking the opportunity to be a participant in your program, urge all Muscovites to think about themselves, about their loved ones, to show the maximum share of responsibility as a city dweller and to get the necessary vaccination, unless, of course, this is contraindicated by medical indications. I personally have already made the second inoculation of Sputnik-V. I was revaccinated, almost a year passed after the first vaccination, the second one did not cause any consequences. The vaccination works and allows me to fulfill my duties, to fly a lot to different countries. In fact, being in a risk group, you feel, if not completely, then practically safe. 

We often face such challenges, for which, perhaps, we are not ready for information, or the level of our knowledge does not allow us to fully answer all the questions for whom the vaccine is indicated, who is contraindicated. But the fact that it works, that the Russian Federation became the first country to officially register a vaccine, the successes of our scientists, they must then of course be supported by the efforts of the entire community, and we must prove that we are one of the most effective countries in coping with pandemic. And for a while, Moscow showed excellent results: according to a number of companies measuring municipal ratings and evaluating the effectiveness of the policies of the world's largest megacities, Moscow entered the top three in terms of the effectiveness of the fight against the pandemic last year. I would like us to hold a high place in this area, and this would, of course, be expressed in the fact that fewer and fewer of our citizens will be in mortal danger.


- In one of your interviews, you said that Moscow was probably one of the first, and maybe the only city where the entire diplomatic corps took root . Can we talk about this broadly?


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- Yes, I think that today we can talk about this not as a political action, but about that it was a purely humanitarian action, because we consider the representatives of the diplomatic corps, permanently located in the capital of Russia, the same Muscovites as we ourselves are. They were exposed to the same threat, and there were quite serious difficulties with logistics, with the delivery of vaccines that are produced in other countries, since these are low-temperature vaccines. And when we came out together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the initiative to vaccinate representatives of the diplomatic corps, members of international organizations stationed in Moscow, we met with complete understanding, and literally within two and a half months, almost everyone who wished received the necessary vaccinations. 

We still feel how timely this was. We managed to ensure that there were practically no serious consequences for diplomats and foreign citizens working in Moscow. Although many of them fell ill, maybe they didn’t have time to get vaccinated, but the hotline that was organized by the Department, and the efforts of all my colleagues made it possible to prevent fatal cases among the diplomatic corps. We still receive gratitude from many diplomatic missions for the fact that such an action was carried out in a timely manner. We agreed with the Foreign Ministry that we will continue this practice, because diplomats are rotated. There is still a shortage of vaccines in the world, especially in Africa, South America, and a number of Asian countries. Therefore, I hope that we will continue this practice, and the response that we have today from a number of embassies shows that this initiative was extremely timely and useful.


- We communicate with representatives of many diplomatic missions, and they all say that Moscow is not just a city convenient for life, comfortable, but also a city where favorable conditions have been created for the work of not only embassies, but also other missions, and therefore we decided to make a program within this season that will be dedicated to the Main Directorate for the Services of the Diplomatic Corps, which turns 100 this year. I know that you are also closely cooperating with the Foreign Ministry. Based on your experience, how do you think, how to create a comfortable life not only for ambassadors, but also for all heads of diplomatic missions in Moscow?



- We We are cooperating very closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, of course, with the Office for the Services of the Diplomatic Corps. Just a few days ago, I met with the new leadership, and we agreed to synchronize our efforts to improve and simplify a number of procedures, including the placement of a number of embassies, the reduction and reduction of bureaucratic barriers, which, unfortunately, always occur in the activities of various ministries and departments . We have a great understanding. And we believe that diplomats who work in Moscow should receive the same maximum of comfortable services from the city that Muscovites themselves receive. Therefore, creating favorable conditions for their work, for their living is one of the tasks, including our Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations. We try to be completely open, we always meet halfway, we discuss any issues within our competence, we try to provide support not only to diplomats, but also to representatives of foreign companies and international organizations. And if you take, for example, foreign business, then today Moscow is a unique hub that has brought together thousands of major foreign corporations and firms; these are our technoparks, industrial parks, where many engineering companies, companies in the field of information technology, pharmacological enterprises, research teams are represented. 

Today, the interest of foreign business, despite the pandemic, remains as high, so I want to thank the Big Asia TV channel for organizing the Capital Ideas program for our foreign partners . It seems to me that this was also a timely initiative to tell through the mouths of foreigners about what Moscow is like, to tell about successful business cases, about how foreign business works in the capital of Russia, how favorable our legislation is and the support measures provided today by the Government of Moscow to foreign business. The fact that we have not reduced the volume of foreign direct investment, which in absolute terms at the end of 2020 amounted to about $260 billion, I think this is one of the indicators of the comfort of the business environment. And it is no coincidence that Foreign Direct Investment magazine, which is published by the Financial Times publishing group, places Moscow on the list of leaders in terms of attractiveness for foreign companies. If we talk about the largest cities of Eastern Europe, then we are in 1st place in terms of investment attractiveness. This, of course, is a big credit of trust, and for us such target designation is that the strategy chosen 10 years ago is the right one, and we are enriched with technologies, knowledge, and talents. 


Many do not want to leave Moscow, even when their stay ends, and continue their business career in Moscow . At least, I know dozens of diplomats, including former heads of diplomatic missions, who remained in Moscow, consider this city extremely convenient, friendly, safe, comfortable, moved their families here, teach their children here, because the level of average Education in Moscow today is one of the highest in the world. These are also precisely the efforts that Moscow has directed towards raising the social sphere by investing tens of billions of dollars in the technical equipment of our schools, our kindergartens, modernizing their technical base, equipping them with the most modern information technologies. This is our Moscow e-school, a unique information environment that made it possible in the first months of the pandemic to create an infrastructure for teaching more than a million of our schoolchildren, who suddenly found themselves not in the classroom, but in front of a computer screen, which is quite unusual. And even, it seems to me, although our young generation instantly adapts to new circumstances, but even for young guys it was a very serious challenge.


- Yesterday I saw Viktor Antonovich Sadovnichy agitate future students of Moscow State University. He says: “Get vaccinated, then you will have the opportunity to communicate with professors. And so you will sit at the screens! .. You will receive the necessary set of knowledge, but nothing can replace live human communication.” Thank you very much for your appreciation of our programs. We have developed together with you such a project as “A Day in the Life of an Ambassador”, which fits very well into the cycle “Capital Idea" and we made two programs. I hope that this season there will also be a program about one of the ambassadors. And so we had such an idea - to make another project, the working title is "Diplomatic Mission", because especially in the context of a pandemic, many are switching to remote perception of information. We would like the Ambassador himself to open the window to his country, so that the “Diplomatic Mission” tells not only about how the embassy lives, but also about the traditions, history and culture of his country. It seems to us that we could not only make a television program, but also hold a whole range of events associated with it. Support this idea?



- Of course we will support, especially since, it seems to me, you have already gone down this path, and I often watch very interesting programs on your channel dedicated to this or that country, programs about culture, traditions, history of countries, about how they live now. Of course, it is very interesting when the head of the representative office talks about this, and does it completely informally. You just accompany him during the day. This is such a unique experience, which, by the way, I have not come across in any TV company that would produce such programs. An interesting idea is to make a cycle about the work of a diplomatic mission, because any diplomatic mission is actually a mini-country that is filled with huge functionality. These are issues of security, economy, culture, sports, and other types of interaction, these are consular services. 

Do you remember how it was with Arthur Hailey in the novels "Airport" and "Hotel"? I think exactly the same novel can be written about the life of any embassy. It is very rich, especially during periods when we are experiencing this kind of crisis, when there is a lack of communication. But nevertheless, communication must be maintained in any mode, and if possible - of course, in the mode of emotional and normal human communication, as it is fashionable to call it, offline, but in extreme cases, at least in videoconference mode. And we, on the part of the Department, tried to saturate both our foreign colleagues and representatives of the diplomatic community with full information about what is happening in the city. We did this even during the period of complete lockdowns. We have such experience of interaction with many embassies, with EU countries, and I think this is also a good experience in such cooperation and taking into account the interests of diplomats, representatives of foreign states and international organizations.


- Moscow, as you know, is a port of five seas, and, probably, it is no coincidence that the Caspian Economic Forum is scheduled to be held in Moscow in August. I know that the Department is one of the organizers of this forum, and a lot of work is going on. If possible, please tell us at what stage the preparation for the forum is now.

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- Indeed, you are absolutely right! Moscow is connected to the five seas by a unique system of canals, and when we commissioned the Northern River Station, which today is probably one of the most beautiful architectural objects in the capital, we did not think that Moscow would be chosen as the city that would hospitably accept the Caspian International forum. On behalf of the Government, together with our colleagues from Roscongress and the Ministry of Economic Development, we are actively working to hold this forum in August. It is planned that delegations of the leadership of the five countries of the Caspian basin will take part in it, there will be meetings at the level of heads of state, at the level of ministers of economy. We have prepared an excellent cultural program for the guests of Moscow. Many round tables are likely to take place online due to the epidemiological situation - you know that we have decided to change the format of even the Moscow International Urban Forum due to the large number of COVID-19 diseases. But I have no doubt that in any format the forum will become a landmark event, and we will be able to demonstrate many of the achievements of the capital in recent years. Including, in the development of transport infrastructure, information technology. We have prepared a special round table dedicated to municipal areas, where we will talk about the city development strategy, how we managed to make Moscow one of the world leaders in terms of sustainable development of megacities in a fairly short historical period, just 10 years.


- We devote a lot of time to the topic of integration - economic, political, cultural, just among the EAEU countries, and after the adoption of the so-called Caspian Constitution, work began in a completely different format in the Caspian states. The forum will become another milestone in the development of economic cooperation, this is already a practically resolved issue, because everyone is moving forward. We want to make a special program with Michael Gibson dedicated to the work of the forum in Moscow and telling about Moscow as an economic and financial center. You recently signed a cooperation agreement with the head of the Moscow Security Council, Vyacheslav Markovich Tsybulnikov. I know that you are already actively working to implement it.


- You are absolutely right, the Forum of the Caspian States is another impetus for cooperation between regions of the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan. For Moscow, as the largest region of Russia from an economic point of view, this is a kind of incentive not only to receive guests beautifully, not only to create a businesslike atmosphere for the forum, but also, perhaps, to be enriched by the experience that our colleagues, who also have development achievements, will bring various areas of municipal cooperation. This is an opportunity to discuss such global projects as the creation of the North-South corridor, the creation of port infrastructure, the development of tourism, the provision of services, large industrial clusters in the Caspian basin. Since Moscow is connected to the Caspian Basin, this will undoubtedly bring certain dividends to Moscow itself in the end. And the sphere of cooperation in the field of finance is today probably one of the key areas that are being discussed within the framework of not only the Eurasian Community, but also within the framework of cooperation between the states of different regions. Moscow is a major financial center, the headquarters of banks, insurance companies, various financial organizations, the Moscow Stock Exchange are located here, and it is very important for us to support the financial sector, because it allowed Moscow to seriously diversify, including budget revenues.  ;

Therefore, the agreement between the Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations and Sberbank of Moscow is an organic continuation of our daily cooperation, which is carried out online. The fact that today Sberbank is a unique information environment, and it has actually gone beyond the understanding of what an ordinary bank can do. This, as German Oskarovich Gref says, is a really very important ecosystem for the further development of the country, so it is very interesting for us to cooperate with Sberbank in the field of developing foreign economic relations, supporting our exporters, and structuring various financial products for foreign companies operating in Moscow. We are discussing various projects in the field of promoting Russian and Moscow goods for export, creating information exchange platforms for interaction that could facilitate interaction between importers and exporters. For example, Sberbank has a very interesting development "Check By Sberbank", which allows you to get information about the bank's customers, their capabilities, products, services and those services that the bank is ready to provide in a very short time to develop the business of its customers. Therefore, I am optimistic about cooperation with Sberbank of Russia, with its Moscow Bank - this is the key bank for Sberbank, the largest. In general, Sberbank is the largest in Eastern Europe, with representative offices in various countries, which, again, expands the capabilities of those companies that interact with our Department.


< i>- By the way, we learned about the opening of a Sberbank representative office on the territory of Food City, where representatives of all EAEU countries work. There are simply no such analogues in other megacities, therefore here Moscow is ahead of the rest. But if we are talking about the attraction of foreigners, this is of course very important, but we have already talked with you more than once that Moscow is the center of attraction for our compatriots, people who consider themselves Russians, and sometimes we don’t understand that a Russian person is it's not just Russians. For a foreigner, a Russian is both a Ukrainian, a Belarusian, and a Kazakh. Every person who speaks Russian, understands it, knows its culture, can feel like our compatriot. We know that here, too, the Department is doing colossal work together with Rossotrudnichestvo. Soon there will be a meeting at the Foreign Ministry - the next one on this program. Tell us what new, interesting things have been done over the past year, especially in the context of a pandemic, so that compatriots consider themselves not so cut off from their homeland.


- Compatriot support program is an integral part of the Department's activities. And Moscow in this sense is a unique subject of the Russian Federation, we have a special law on support for compatriots. Despite economic difficulties, even in the context of a pandemic, the capital has always maintained the amount of funding for compatriots' programs. First of all, of course, this is support for the Russian language, this is support for our efforts abroad to prevent the distortion of historical facts and the rewriting of history. These are numerous conferences, cultural festivals, which we have been holding together for many, many years in different countries, on different continents. These are interesting country conferences, these are forums that bring together entire regions. I am very glad that we managed to achieve synergy with the Rossotrudnichestvo agency and the Russian Foreign Ministry and jointly saturate such events with interesting content. Recently, we have been developing experience of interaction with the regions of the Russian Federation, we are actively cooperating, for example, with St. Petersburg, the Republic of Crimea, the Republic of Komi, and other regions of Russia, where forums are held and pressing issues of interaction with organizations of compatriots, and only Moscow has more than 155 of them, in almost 50 countries of the world.  ;

This is a huge job, and of course we are helped in it by the Moscow House of Compatriots, our subordinate enterprise, the Moscow Center for International Cooperation - this is our unique museum and archive complex, The Solzhenitsyn House of the Russian Diaspora. These are the houses of Moscow in various countries. All this infrastructure allows us not to lose contact with our compatriots, although 2020 was a year of virtual isolation for us, nevertheless, we managed to quickly change the format, switch to holding events via web conferences, holding online events. Our business seminars turned out to be very popular. We talked about how you can do business in the Russian Federation, how we could help our organizations abroad with advice. We tried to ensure that traditional events, such as the Pushkin Competition, the Moscow Mayor's Scholarship, various specialized conferences, remain and are not subjected to either budget sequestration or, let's say, the impact of any pandemic consequences. Therefore, the format was somewhat changed, which led to some formalization of events, because the emotions that you get from communicating with our representatives of the large Russian world, the Russian world - and I generally support calling not Russians, but Russians, because we all live in country called Russia - that's about how Russians live, people from different former republics or from different regions of present-day Russia, modern Russia - all this, I repeat, is an integral and most important part of the work of the Department. Indeed, in the near future it is planned to hold an Interdepartmental Government Commission on the Affairs of Russian Compatriots, where Moscow will report on the experience of working in such difficult conditions, and I hope that a number of initiatives that we will express there will be supported by the commission.



- Please tell the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that compatriots really want them to have as much as possible more information platforms. Probably, after all, we will approach the creation of some maybe even a social network or some other platform, because the content we have accumulated over 3.5 years suggests that our compatriots have a great need to connect with their homeland. As for communication, we were recently at the St. Petersburg Forum, the first such a large-scale face-to-face event held after the pandemic. It turned out that eye-to-eye meeting, without digital devices, is a completely different atmosphere, completely different results. The world is opening with a creak, as many say, but nevertheless I really hope that he is on the path of opening. What are the work plans of the Department, the Government of Moscow to revive economic relations and international relations of our city in general?


- The most ambitious plans are the same as we had b


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