Vladimir Yakunin: "I have a good life under sanctions"

Russian Railways' President in an interview to Die Welt and Forbes talks about the reaction of the Western businesses to sanctions, the dangers of privatization, Ukrainian risks and Putin as a cementing factor.
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In mid-April, the president of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin met with representatives of the German Chamber of Commerce, and then answered questions from the German publication Die Welt and the Russian Forbes magazine. The topic of the interview were the relations of Russia and the West.

Has something changed in your relationship with German businessmen, including RZD partners, after the imposition of sanctions against Russia?

European business, as well as Russia, seeking ways to preservation of the existing ties. I was asked many questions about the prospects for the implementation of mega-projects such as the modernization of the Trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur Mainline, the development of high-speed traffic. I can not guarantee that all projects will be developed at a pace that planned to sanctions, but the fact that these projects need to do - absolutely.

Whether strongly decreased the amount of co-operation after the imposition of sanctions?

In 2014, we had very good results, almost 25% increased volume of freight containers. But in January-February 2015 foreign trade turnover fell by 35%. It is not so much the sanctions policy as deterrence againsttions with Russia when politics dictate business, where to go, where not to go, what to do, what not to do.

Western companies are experiencing problems with the financing of the ongoing projects in Russia. The banking system provides certain authorization technology. Many businessmen in the framework of the Russian-French Business Council, for example, have complained that they can not send money for work already done - the banks delay. It can not be called nothing else but to masochism.

Did you discuss with the businessmen out of the situation?

We tried not to talk about politics. Heinz Hermann Thiele (Company Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Knorr-Bremse, which produces braking equipment -. Forbes), said that due to the sanctions of their production capacity was reduced by 60%. He intends to work with Russia, because he sees the future: his company manufactures a device that is installed on all high-speed trains.

We continue to cooperate with Siemens. In June, we will introduce a fully automated hump to form and disbandof trains in the port of Ust-Luga, is a joint project. We continue to work on localization of production of locomotives at the Urals factories, suburban trains, "Swallow".

The ruble devaluation makes the Western technique and excessively expensive technology. The transfer of production to Russia many see as a way out. I suggested that the Deutsche Bank think that the disparity in the euro-ruble today is very effective to buy a property in Russia. The current policy of our central bank, prohibitive annual interest rate for loans opens up opportunities for foreign banks: they can buy a corresponding amount of the Russian currency and implement lending in rubles.

What steps do you expect to improve the situation of the governments involved in the conflict?

Today, both sides declare that they do not interrupt the economic cooperation. On the Russian side, these statements are sincere. I as the head of one of the largest companies have never put any barriers in the development of relations with Western companies. Very hotelosI like to see Western governments have realized that sanctions hurt the beat on the already difficult economic situation in Western Europe.

I can only guess who benefits. Russia is not a competitor to the European economy. As China. There is no competition in the European economy and in Latin America and the Arab countries. Political scientist George Friedman, head of Stratfor private intelligence structures, explicitly stated that the US would be a nightmare, even the assumption that the economic union of Germany and Russia. Association of German technology and Russian resources would create a tremendous competitor for America. So the cooling of relations between Europe and Russia beneficial to the American economy and American financiers.

Technology is not the strongest of our party. Russia is still very dependent on oil and gas exports.

Australia, too, is dependent on exports of the same product and thus perfectly lives, no one talks about it the resource curse. Yes, undiversified Russian economy - a big problem. But this is the result of the post-perestroika processesth period, when there was de-industrialization of the country. That's not the problem, we have a lot of gas or coal.

The problem is that there is no fixed property rights, there are no institutions that provide long-term economic development.

This problem exists mainly for themselves Russian, on the property rights of foreigners is not especially impinge. Many big businessmen in Russia are concerned that sooner or later they will have to provide for the transfer of their property to heirs, but there is no law on inheritance, on the trust law. Institutional problems exist in many countries. As well as China, that does not prevent him grow in many Middle Eastern countries, where generally no need to talk about democracy.

Institutions need to create in order to diversify the economy. You can not engage in the creation of institutions for the sake of the institutions and do not pay attention to the complexity of the real economy, the social sphere.

Economist Sergei Guriev says that privatization creates a demand for government institutions, they occur naturally. In Russia, gosudarstvennye company is much less efficient than private. Maybe it's time to make the privatization?

In Orthodoxy, there is a principle: do not make yourself an idol. You should not be considered a panacea for privatization. On what basis do you say that state-owned companies are less efficient than private ones? Let's turn to practice. Who in 2008 first rushed for help from the state budget and in the West and in Russia? Private banks and private companies. Today, private operators, until retailers lined up for state. Railways anything the state does not ask. We had anticipated this development, since 2008, the company employs an anti-crisis committee. Why private companies are effective, not prepared?

But state-owned banks also asked for help from the state budget.

And I'm not saying that there is a difference. But the statement that the private business is more efficient than the state-owned business, is not always correct.

You do not believe that privatization can improve the economy?

Where appropriate, it is necessary to carry out privatization, freeing the state oftons of unnecessary features. But the role of the state must be large in the area of ​​infrastructure, such as electricity population, railways, post office. And that requires a large investment in the development of society. Infrastructure development in the railway sector can not be achieved at the expense of commercial loans. payback period more than 15-20 years, minimum profit. Here you need to state. In the US economy, the volume of public funds up to 75%, in Europe - 35%, while in Russia - only 27%. So where there is more private, and where the state?

There are clear steps that must occur in order to have appeared necessary institutions in society. By institutions I understand, first of all, legislation, policies, implementation of the system of laws. We have, unfortunately, it all started with another: a bunch of people to get access to state property, distributed the property, and it turned out that today the relations between the rich and the poor rate is twice that which is considered normal for the stability of society. This is the correct privatization? No.

Let's go back to the relationship with the Hebrewssing. If sanctions cancel, say, six months later, is it possible to quickly restore all the old economic ties?

The politics and economics of speech, of course, mean a lot, but a point of bifurcation is aggression, armed conflict. We to this point is not reached. Our task - to prevent this point of no return. One can argue, swear, to accuse, to agree. But if we allow the expansion of the conflict that we see today in Ukraine, to direct armed conflict with Russia, it will be a bifurcation point. And it will be very unfortunate.

Were you surprised by the strong reaction of the West to this conflict?

Such a reaction of the West does not surprise me, I think she's one of the real surprises politicians in Russia. I am surprised that, since Independence, the Western public and Western media have refused to see a very dangerous development trend of the situation. I do not agree with the fact that the glorification of Bandera is a sign of the democratization of the Ukrainian society. But I am surprised that the Ukrainian society itself believes that this is so.

You too, like many politicians in Moscow, consideringete, that a fascist government is sitting in Kiev?

I would not say so. But I note that in the relations between the naked human rights and armed always armed. If the Western media give an objective picture of what is happening in Ukraine under the influence of the "Right Sector", you would have seen how Parliament was formed, armed men came to the prosecutors, throwing them in the rubbish bins. West underestimates the danger of the processes that occurred and are occurring in Ukraine. In the West, formed the community, which in the case of Ukraine learn how to achieve their goals. But it can not be taken as the norm right to seize weapons and to use this weapon in the political life.

But this is precisely what happened in the east of Ukraine, which causes indignation of the West.

But it started on the Maidan. Everything has a beginning. And God forbid, that was the end of the whole.

And what Russia has done wrong with regard to Ukraine in your opinion?

Over the years, we incorrectly assessed the processes that occurred in Ukraine, did not react to them. Even when TimoSchenk. It was a mistake to succumb to the illusion that the problem is purely economic in nature. We could not at that time, when relations with the West were good, to persuade the West to the danger of the trends that have developed in Ukraine. It came down to the fact that Russia wants Ukraine to remain in the zone of its influence, while the West with open arms wants to take Ukraine into the EU. But we all know that the West does not want to take Ukraine into the EU with its debt and a ruined economy. The question is not who she is, but that why all this happened. Both sides made a colossal mistake.

You are close to the president. It is believed that now he no longer listens to the security forces, rather than a business.

This is all conditional name: strongman, statists, liberals, modernizers ... In the current situation, the government and the state has to focus on very specific, most important directions. We have written in the Constitution that the state is socially oriented. Here is a representative of the Danish royal house recently he said that it is necessary to put an end to the social orientation of Western sovereignsstv. And in Russia, the social orientation of the state is of great importance for a large part of the population. Yet even generational change did not happen, to move from one form of society to another form of society. The state anything about it can not.

The government is not working very effectively.

The very financial and economic model, which is now being implemented in the West and in Russia, is objectively wrong. You say that I am a person close to the president. It defines the president who is close to him and who is not. I'm just doing the work that I have been instructed, I try to do it as efficiently as possible and as far as possible, right. I do not hide their views. I say that the current financial and economic model devised by theorists of post-industrialism, it does not imply the solidarity of the integral development of all nations and all states. It focuses on the benefits of those who invented this theory and imposes it to the world. This is not the opposition between the conventional groups, and the battle of ideas that is correct in terms of building an economic model, financeoic model. I can not agree that the establishment of the basic rate of 17% is the correct model. And I do not think that the decrease it to 15% can contribute to a sharp recovery of our economy. I say this as a representative of the real economy.

Recently zamlavy Presidential Administration Vyacheslav Volodin said that if "no Putin, no Russian." And what is your opinion, what will happen to the country if Putin will be president?

Volodin politician, and I'm just a citizen. Politics, as we know, do not do it. I will refer to a hierarch of the Orthodox Church, not the Moscow Patriarchate. He, as befits a religious leader, said that Putin's Russia has God given. You can have different attitudes to the individual, but to adequately assess the situation, perhaps, the political formula that Volodin said today reflects the degree of influence of President Putin as a cementitious stabilizing factor on the situation in the country. This does not mean that someone believes in immortality. But it is that a society, developing and samoorganizuyas must produce such leaders, who are due toThe burden will be able to take the burden of power in their own hands and contribute to the development of this society.

Do you think, in the current political system, the emergence of new leaders be?

We know from history that they just appear in the crisis period. In the marsh frog only multiply. This is true for the European Communities. I have many foreign friends. The problem of leadership is relevant today for the whole world.

For Russia, a strong belief in the leader is not a problem? It's an illusion.

It is not an illusion. We talked about the institutions, traditions, the diversification of the economy. If all of these institutions are still evolving today, we need an institution that would properly orient the process. From this point of view, a strong leader - is not nostalgia for the strong hand, and the institution that creates a certain, well-oriented field for the development of state institutions.

Putin for 15 years in power. In 2011, it became apparent that the structural challenges have matured, affected by the lack of institutions. Can a person, who is now 63 years old, who grew up in oneth state, which is 15 years in power, to create a new economic model and progressive institutions?

This is an interesting question that I had to respond. I never studied economics, I practice. Somehow in the conversation the Head of State referred to the absence of a scientific degree as a disadvantage for the president of Russian Railways. I did a master's thesis, then a doctor, now I'm head of the department.

I am 66 years old. I do not believe that the physical age is an obstacle to people has changed and developed, it depends on the nature of man. If you want to grow, and does not want, and in 30 years there will be an old man.

15 years - long period of time, if life is calm, there may come satiety. But 15 years of constant struggle, constant search, responsibility for choosing not allow a person to rest on our laurels, to lose the sense of dynamics. This is a completely different life. Take those same institutions. On the one hand, one person should be responsible for everything, and on the other hand, you're just saying that Putin did not create these institutions. Who created them? They created the neoliberals, who are with him Dr.otali. Gref, Kudrin, Guriev, Yasin. That they offered, which institutions should be. And Kudrin, Gref, and for ten years formed the financial and economic model of our society. Even now they are influential people. Our views are radically different, but Kudrin is my good friend, we meet. When he was fired, I was the first who came to him in the institute to support.

Now increasingly heard talk that low oil prices and sanctions will lead to a reorientation of the Russian economy. Do you also think so?

Our policy of optimists say that the sanctions - good. We finally realized that we need to diversify the economy. Where were you 25 years before? Nothing good in sanctions except the separation of companies in the West, East, Russia, Europe, no.

Do you think the Russian part of the European community?

Russia is located on the European continent. The two civilizations - the European and Russian Orthodox - have evolved side by side. was interactive communication between them, they passed each other some message across, culturesy, and so forth. There were wars, were marriages. We have evolved together. Russia - a resident of the European house.

China can be an alternative to the West? The high-speed rail Moscow - Kazan used Chinese investment.

I am unaware of serious politicians in Russia who would believe that China - the replacement of European co-operation and the United States. Under the influence of the sanctions policy, which the Americans have suggested that Russia should look for new markets for its products and for what Russia needs. China is a natural partner. It is no less corresponds to the interests of China itself. Chinese elites are aware that in the emerging unipolar world it is impossible for China to deal with the United States both in terms of global competitiveness, and from the point of view of political domination. Therefore, we should stick together. High-speed rail project - a manifestation of this understanding.

What will happen in Ukraine? Minsk agreement will work, or the fire will flare up?

Keys to the resolution of the conflict does not lie in Minsk in the Ukraine, not in KeyEve, and not even in Moscow. They lie in Washington.

How do you personally live under sanctions?

Not bad live. I left the United States for more than 25 years ago, then twice, at their invitation was there. I even Canada is not authorized. No reason. For me, the sanctions - is the problem of the formation of the economic model of development of railway transport due to lack of access to European financial markets.

What are we, Russia and Europe still have not understood each other?

In the post-perestroika period of the development of relations between Russia and Germany went on the path of understanding, trying to understand the other. This understanding of today is not enough. The main thesis of the dialogue of civilizations - "another does not mean the enemy", that is no reason to chase each other with guns or with a club.

Today, Germany and France have recognized that the policy of multiculturalism in the form in which was sold, was not conducive to the elimination of grounds for a clash of civilizations. So - we need to consider, and what was the error. It did not happen because of the neglect of the original members of oneivilizatsii for someone fails to build such a relationship. We did not understand that, regardless of whether a nation big or small, from the point of view of civilization, they are equal.