Opening Speech: Sergey Sobyanin

February 3, 2012

 

After a brief introduction by Ruben Vardanian, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin began his speech by comparing the mood at the recent Davos conference with that in Moscow. He surmised that the mood in the Russian capital was much more optimistic and positive. Moscow has fought and overcome the 2008 crisis. Unemployment is just 1%, investment is growing at a healthy pace, average life expectancy has risen to 75, and the birth rate now exceeds the mortality rate. However, the ill effects of the European crisis are being felt in many sectors, especially the financial sector. The development strategy for Moscow is aimed at transforming the city into a global megapolis and a regional development center.

Moscow is open to increased investment but is selective in terms of growth sectors. The city has canceled 8 mln m2 of residential construction contracts and launched an ambitious commercial real estate program involving retail and office space.

Zoning and land regulation were highlighted as important. The city is developing policy to solve local traffic and parking issues. Mr Sobyanin said it will take $12-15 bln to solve these problems. More attention will be paid to old development zones. Up to $50 bln will be spent on recreation areas, social development, medical and transportation infrastructure, and hotels.

New areas provide more opportunities for the city, where local government plans to build new campuses, site a financial center and government buildings, etc.

Privatization is ongoing. In 2011, the city privatized several billion dollars’ worth of assets, in line with the federal privatization program.

Changes to the procurement system and switching to an electronic system have helped the city budget to save $2 bln.

The influx of people into Moscow is good. People coming to Moscow take jobs in finance, education and the cultural sphere, which supports development in these areas.

One in three Russian scientists lives in Moscow, so the city is very important as a center of innovation.

For Moscow, stability is important. The mayor therefore thinks that Muscovites should seek to elect politicians who will support stability.

On this note he ended his speech. During the subsequent Q&A session, Moscow was compared with Singapore. Foreigners are very comfortable in Moscow and sectors in greater need of investment – such as retail, hotels, healthcare, sports and transport – have received significant investment. Moscow is home to 12 mln people, while a further 8 mln live in the suburbs just across the city limits.