Oreshkin: To Fulfill Economic Goals, Russia Must Restore Faith in Courts, Police

Russia must restore trust in its courts and police as a condition for the government fulfilling the Kremlin’s ambitious economic plans, economy minister Maxim Oreshkin told President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Following his landslide re-election in 2018, Putin outlined a set of ambitious political and economic goals for his government, called “national projects”. Among them is making Russia a top-five global economy by the end of his current term in 2024.

Oreshkin’s unusually direct comments to Putin were broadcast on state television and come as the government is searching for ways to kick-start a stagnant economy that is on course to grow just 1% this year.

The Russian economy has weathered an array of shocks over the last five years ranging from Western sanctions to volatile prices for oil, one of its main sources of revenue. But although it is currently stable, a pickup in economic growth has remained elusive.

The Kremlin’s critics say economic growth is hamstrung by the investment climate and point to the case of several executives at prominent private equity group Baring Vostok, including U.S. investor Michael Calvey, who was arrested and charged with embezzlement this year.

The case against Baring Vostok rattled Russia’s business community and prompted several prominent officials and businessmen to voice concerns about the treatment of the executives.

In what seemed like agreement with such concerns, Oreshkin told Putin at a meeting with officials that it was “very important” to “restore the faith of entrepreneurs in law enforcement and the courts.

“Without changing the trend now it will be very difficult to achieve a positive result in investment activity overall,” he said.