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HSE Distinguished Professor Sergey Karaganov Moderates Plenary Session at SPIEF

HSE Distinguished Professor Sergey Karaganov Moderates Plenary Session at SPIEF

Photo by Sergey Semenov / Roscongress Foundation

At the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian President Vladimir Putin participated alongside the Presidents of Bolivia and Zimbabwe, Luis Alberto Arce Catacora and Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. For the first time, a representative from HSE University—Sergey Karaganov, Academic Supervisor of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs and HSE’s distinguished professor—served as the moderator of the plenary session.

The St Petersburg International Economic Forum has been held annually since 1997. The 2024 forum’s key theme was ‘The Formation of New Areas of Growth as the Cornerstone of a Multipolar World.’ Over 12,000 participants attended the event, including business representatives, experts, scholars, and political, public, and government figures.

Traditionally, the key event at SPIEF is the plenary session with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This year, it also featured the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, and the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

For the first time, the historian and political scientist, Academic Supervisor of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs and distinguished professor at HSE University, Sergey Karaganov, had the honour of moderating the plenary session.

Sergey Karaganov
Photo by Sergey Semenov / Roscongress Foundation

‘It was a huge honour and great pleasure to host this session. We have a brilliant and strong group of speakers, so the session promises to be interesting,’ said Sergey Karaganov in his opening remarks before introducing the participants of the session. Speaking of Vladimir Putin, he emphasised that the Russian leader faces a challenging task: ‘not only do you have to win but also save the world from heading for and being pushed into a world war.’

In his speech, Vladimir Putin addressed key issues in global politics and highlighted the achievements and challenges facing Russia today.

‘We can see that a real race is beginning between countries to promote their sovereignty at three key levels: the state, cultural values, and the economy. At the same time, countries that until recently were leaders in global development are striving to maintain their elusive role as hegemons, using any means necessary,’ he said.

Vladimir Putin
Photo by Sergey Otroshko / Roscongress Foundation

Putin stated that Russia is ready to offer full-scale technological and industrial partnerships to other countries, as well as ensure the full life cycle of goods and services, training national personnel, localising production, providing engineering support, technical service, insurance, and more.

‘Such approach to cooperation that relies on equal partnership and technology and competency transfers rather than market control makes it possible to establish stronger ties between the countries, improves our companies’ sustainable positions on the global market, and enables them to establish lasting partnerships with their foreign partners,’ Putin believes.

He also emphasised that Russia, along with its international partners, will increase the use of national currencies in foreign trade settlements to enhance the security and efficiency of such operations. This includes the development of an independent payment system through BRICS that is immune to political pressure, abuses, and external sanctions interference.

Photo by Sergey Otroshko / Roscongress Foundation

Regarding the Russian economy, Putin highlighted the goal of achieving a new quality and substance of economic growth, changing the sectoral structure through active supply-side economic policies.

This economic model is expected to reduce the level of imports to 17% of GDP by 2030. This reduction should be achieved not through administrative or protective barriers but by developing competitive domestic production capable of meeting internal demand in manufacturing, agriculture, services, IT, and other sectors.

The Russian President also announced plans to increase spending on science. ‘In six years, we plan to become one of the world’s top ten leaders in terms of research and development. Domestic expenditures for these purposes should increase to at least two per cent of GDP,’ he said.

The Russian leader also gave several directives to the government and proposed initiatives in economic and social policy.

In particular, he stressed the need for accelerated wage growth, including indexing the minimum wage, suggesting its adjustment be tied in with the overall wage growth in the Russian economy.

‘Starting next year, we will introduce a ratio of the minimum wage to the median wage received by the majority of the employees in our economy. In 2025, the minimum wage will amount to 48 per cent of the median wage, thus exceeding 22,000 rubles per month, meaning that it will grow by about 15 per cent more,’ said Putin. ‘Then the ratio with the median wage will increase so that, as agreed, the minimum wage will amount to at least 35,000 rubles a month by 2030.’

Notably, the idea to tie wages and incomes to the median was proposed by HSE experts. HSE Vice Rector Lilia Ovcharova discussed this in an interview with Kommersant newspaper at the 2024 St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The full speeches of the President of Russia, the President of Bolivia, and the President of Zimbabwe are available here.

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