Towards the Meeting of Boris Yeltsin,
President of the Russian Federation,
with the Leaders of the G7

July 1994, Naples


[back to top]

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was born to a peasant family in the village of Butka, Sverdlovsk Region, on February 1, 1931. His mother, Klavdia Vassilyevna, died at the age of 85, and his father, Nikolai Ignatyevich, at the age of 72.

Boris Yeltsin graduated from the construction department of the Urals Polytechnic as a civil engineer in 1955. Skilled in 12 various working professions, he consecutively worked as a foreman, project superintendent, senior project superintendent, chief engineer, and head of building organisations in the city of Sverdlovsk.

In 1968 he began his party career at the Sverdlovsk regional committee of the CPSU and became the first secretary of that committee in 1976.

A member of the CPSU Central Committee since 1981, he was appointed head of the construction department of the CPSU Central Committee in April 1985. From 1985 to 1986 he was a secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, and an alternate member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee from 1986 to February 1988. In 1985-1987 he headed the Moscow City Communist Party Committee.

In 1987-1989, he was first deputy chairman of the USSR State Construction Committee, a USSR Minister.

On March 25, 1989, Yeltsin was elected people's deputy of the USSR from the 1st national-territorial district of Moscow (his candidacy was supported by more than 5 million people and he won 88.4% of the vote). He became a member of the Supreme Soviet at the First Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR. As a parliament member, Boris Yeltsin headed the parliamentary committee for construction and architecture.

In 1990 he was elected people's deputy of the RSFSR, and on May 29, 1990, he was elected chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet in a contested election at the First Congress of People's Deputies of the RSFSR.

He cancelled his party membership on July 12, 1990 at the 28th Congress of the CPSU.

Boris Yeltsin was elected first President of Russia in direct and open popular elections on June 12, 1991, winning more than 57% of the vote.

From November 1991 to May 1992 he combined the presidential office with that of chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation. In May 1992, he became Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. He has also chaired the Security Council of the Russian Federation and the Council of Heads of the Republics of Russia since June 1992 and October 15, 1992, respectively.

In December 1993, he was elected 1994 chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Boris Yeltsin authored the book Against the Grain" and Notes of a President".

His wife, Naina Iosifovna, nee Girina, graduated from the Urals Polytechnic as a civil engineer. The Yeltsins have two daughters - Yelena, b.1957, who graduated from the Urals Polytechnic, and Tatyana, b.1959, who finished Moscow State University's department of computational mathematics and cybernetics. Boris Yeltsin has three grandchildren Katya, Masha and Boris.

He loves to play tennis, and when young excelled at volleyball.

[back to top]

The Russian Federation

Introductory Survey

Capital: Moscow

Area:17,075,400 square kilometres (01.01.94).

Administrative Division:21 republics, 1 autonomous region, 10 autonomous areas, 6 territories, 49 regions and 2 federal-status cities.

Flag: The national flag (proportions 3 by 2) carries three equal horizontal stripes, of white, blue and red.

Coat of Arms:The two-headed eagle is depicted against the background of a red heraldic shield with the three crowns of Peter the Great above its heads (two smaller ones right above the eagle's heads and the larger one in between on top of them); the eagle clutches the sceptre and the orb and carries on its chest the image of a horseman killing a dragon with a spear.

Anthem:Andrei Petrov's arrangement of Mikhail Glinka's "Patriotic Song".

State Language: Russian

National Holiday: The Day of the Adoption of the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the Russian Federation (June 12).

Fundamental Law: The Constitution of the Russian Federation (adopted by popular vote on December 12, 1993).

Head of State: The President elected for a term of 4 years.

Parliament: The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation comprised of two houses - the Federation Council and the State Duma.

Population: (1 January 1994): 148,400,000

Urban population: 108,000,000

Rural population: 39,900,000

More than 150 indigenous nationalities live in Russia.

Natural Resources:

Russia's known natural resources were estimated at around 28,600 billion dollars (in world prices).

Russia accounts for 15% of oil, 30% of natural gas, 7% of coal, 10% of iron ore, and from 10 to 20% of non-ferrous, rare and noble metals produced in the world. The Russian Federation has enough studied oil reserves to last for 30 years; its known gold veins, and copper and zinc deposits will last for 14 and 75-100 consecutive years, respectively. And Russia's known lead stocks will be depleted more than 100 years from now. Besides, its known iron-ore and coal reserves are going to last for over 200 years in a row.

Forming a Market-Style Economy:

As of June 1994, about 90,000 enterprises had passed into private hands. Some 70 per cent of all "small-scale privatization" entities, as well as 70 per cent of all major industrial enterprises that are due to be privatized had changed their type of property over that period. In fact, nearly 70 per cent of the Russian population have already used up their vouchers (privatization checks). A total of 16,600 major and medium- sized industrial entities are to become privately-owned; of this number, nearly 12,000 have already been registered as shareholding companies, with nearly 640 voucher investment funds springing up all the same.

As of April 1, 1994, Russia had 277,300 private farms covering an impressive 10,9 million hectares.

All in all, 11,500 limited-liability and mixed companies, as well as 272 open-end joint-stock entities, 1,861 agricultural cooperatives and 936 associations of peasants'/farmers' holdings, were created in place of local collective and state farms, what with more than 424 collective and state farms turning into auxiliary holdings of various enterprises and organizations.

The Russian Economy (main 1994 indices for 5 months)

GDP levels Industrial output

GDP levels 189.5 trillion roubles
Industrial output 97.0 trillion roubles
Consumer-goods production 27.9 trillion roubles
Housing construction 6.3 million sq m
Retail commodity turnover 66.6 trillion roubles
Paid services 8.7 trillion roubles
Freight transportation (forwarding), general-purpose transport 1.1 billion tons
Popular monetary incomes 101.8 trillion roubles
Exports $16.8 billion
Imports $6.7 billion

Economic Credits

All in all, the nation's economy had absorbed 30.0 trillion roubles' worth of credits (As of January 1, 1994).

The economy had derived profits to the tune of 41 trillion roubles over the 1993 period, with the industry accounting for about 67 per cent of all profits.

In June 1994 inflation stood at 4.8 per cent.

Education

A total of 20,600,000 children were studying at Russia's 68,000 daytime primary and high schools over the 1993/1994 academic year.

Russia has 548 higher state educational establishments (As of the early 1993/1994 academic year).

Russia also has 57 universities.

All in all, 2,500,000 students are trained by the nation's higher educational establishments in the 1993/1994 academic year.

A total of 743 gymnasias (553,000 students) and 447 lyceums (284,000 students) were functioning over the 1993/1994 academic year.

[back to top]

Apropos the G-7 Naples Summit

The G-7's Naples summit, which is to be attended by President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation, is to become a landmark event in international affairs. The main tendencies of global politics' development, as well as its main component the emerging Russian-Western partnership in a post-confrontational world are focused on the forthcoming summit.

Such a partnership has already evolved through several stages. For its part, Russia has signed the Partnership For Peace program envisaging its cooperation with NATO, as well as a partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union.

With this prospect in mind, the G-7 is expected to gradually turn into the G-8, which is seen as a natural and essential stage of the transfer to global democracies' mature strategic partnership. In the first place, such a transformation should encompass the political dimension.

The first practical steps were taken along this road during the July 1993 G-7 summit in Tokyo. And the Naples summit is expected to score even more impressive achievements in this respect. Concrete decisions, due to be made in Naples, should reaffirm the common viewpoint that Russia's stage-by-stage integration into the club of the world's leading industrial nations corresponds to the long-term interests of all parties involved in this process.

The demise of totalitarianism and the end of the Cold War have presented us with an historic chance making it possible to solve the following double task that of establishing a transparent and democratic Russian state and turning that unstable post-confrontational world into a stable and democratic entity. The attainment of these goals is vitally important both for Russia and the West if only because they share common democratic convictions and because their long-term interests are not contradictory: conversely, they mutually complement each other, as far as the overwhelming majority of international issues are concerned.

At present, Russia is defending its historic choice in favor of democracy, market economics and an open and civilized foreign policy. This is being done in the course of unprecedentedly difficult and painful reforms. In the obtaining situation, it is highly important that Russia know the following that it is needed by the world as a powerful partner, who should occupy a befitting place in the family of free, rule- of-law and democratic states. Any policy meeting such aspirations will become the best Western investment in Russian and global stability, serving as the most effective response to fears concerning the revival of "Russian imperialism.

The Western world managed to work out an integral joint strategy for dealing with the main problems at hand after the second world war. Among other things, the Marshall Plan played the key role in Western Europe's economic revival, with which the deterrence" concept provided an effective answer to the totalitarian challenge.

Mature strategic partnership involving democratic nations both in the East and the West could serve as a response to current challenges. Such partnership should be strategic and mature only because Russia shares common values and because it is high time we stopped stating our intentions and got down to business. The mutual recognition of one another in the capacity of like-minded states that are committed to common democratic values, UN and CSCE norms should be transferred into the plane of practical activity. Russia's participation in the work of such entities as the G-7, which highlight the unity of the world's leading democratic states, would serve as a concrete expression of such recognition.

The G-7 states coordinate their political and economic approaches between themselves first and foremost, and then synchronize the same approaches with Russia. Such a situation is used to formalize an institutional gap" between Russia and leading Western democracies.

This is why the question of the G-7's two-stage transformation into the G-8 is now hot on the agenda. The parties concerned should first start discussing political issues, all the more as Russia is already seen as an indispensable partner here. This process would be completed in the course of Russia's integration into the global economy.

The creation of the G-8 political club would serve to beef up the existing machinery for coordinating the world's most influential states' foreign-policy actions. This is particularly important today when international relations abound in conflicts and crises. The leading democratic powers should coordinate their approaches to the solution of such issues well in advance; this is a key aspect of their settlement. The Bosnian crisis shows rather vividly that such "pre-emptive" coordination is a must. This concerns all "burning" and "smoldering" conflicts alike. It's much easier to prevent a fire from breaking out rather than eliminating its consequences.

Political interaction within the G-8 framework would allow democratic powers to more effectively form a more stable, predictable and peaceful global order through joint effort and with the help of the appropriate institutions. Such an order should rest on the following pillars a tough NBC-weapons non-proliferation regime covering the relevant know-how and delivery means; a more effective UN mechanism, particularly in the peace-keeping field; a resolute rebuff to aggressive nationalism; cooperation in asserting generally recognized international human rights standards, as well as genuinely universal economic, trade and financial international institutions. Russia is vitally interested in all these spheres; besides, it has the required potential for playing a weighty and constructive role here. Russia's significance is going to increase if it manages to combine its efforts with those of the G-7.

Russia constitutes an irreplaceable link connecting two emerging security and cooperation systems in the Euro-Atlantic and Asia-Pacific regions. In this sense, our country serves as the G-7's natural and essential partner in considering the modern world's main political problems.

At the same time, we understand only too well that our participation in the G-8 club does not constitute some kind of privilege; on the contrary, this amounts to a well thought-out balance of rights and responsibilities. Russia is ready to shoulder that burden. This is guaranteed by the irreversibility of the Russian leadership's policy aimed at continuing and deepening reforms.

Russia has suggested a wide range of political issues involving our common interests, which could be discussed during the G-8's Naples summit.

Russia supports the formation of an effective security and stability system for the Euro-Atlantic region. Such a system should heed the interests of all states without any exception whatsoever (regardless of their size, geographic location and economic potential). The CSCE should play a special role in the creation of that system's political framework. For its part, the G-8 can accomplish a lot in order to boost the CSCE's peacekeeping potential, helping streamline wide-ranging interaction between the CSCE and the NACC, the WEU, the CIS, NATO, etc.

The establishment of solid security in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the development of local economic cooperation also correspond to the G-8's interests.

Speaking of the construction of the post-confrontational world, we should attain the following top-priority common goal. In short, the G-8 should conduct a coordinated and responsible policy in the field of NBC weapons non-proliferation and the transfer of conventional weapons and military technologies. The G-8's nuclear and non-nuclear members could make a joint statement in support of permanently extending the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty during the forthcoming 1995 conference.

The democratic nations should help to ensure compliance with universal human rights and freedoms, as well as the implementation of the world human rights conference's decisions, which were adopted in Vienna in June 1993. This should become a major aspect of our common efforts. Economic and social progress, as well as solid international security are only possible on the grounds of respect for human and ethnic minorities' rights.

The G-8 could also help expand the UN peace-keeping effort in former Yugoslavia, Africa and other regions; this concerns more effective collective peace-keeping operations and the UN's crisis-prevention mechanisms as well.

The G-8 could more closely cooperate in unlocking crises and conflicts on CIS territory, which would become an important manifestation of partner-like nature of our relations. Our Western partners could also support more substantially peace-keeping efforts by Russia and its neighbours, that are being undertaken in accordance with the goals and principles of the UN Charter and the CSCE, and in accordance with certain agreements involving the parties concerned.

Russia is ready to discuss any other proposals, too, all the more so as there are no major international political issues that can be settled without its participation. As far as the discussion of economic issues is concerned, Russia expects its G-7 partners to comprehend the huge economic and social value of our transformations, taking this into account when concluding practical decisions. This seems to be the most important thing here. Russia hopes that the G-7 is going to discuss the implementation of the Tokyo package" containing all sorts of financial and economic decisions supporting the Russian reform drive. Russia still regards highly these specific forms of support that do not require any additional outside funding (access to international markets), that do not increase our debt burden (direct investment and debt-restructuring plans) and which help boost our interaction with the IMF and the WBRD. This country also pays special attention to the projects' social orientation.

We must start implementing various programs envisaging assistance to our privatization and economic-restructuring projects as soon as possible. The same applies to the fund for the support of small and medium business, which can also yield a fast and tangible effect.

The Naples summit should expressly state that Russia is a nation possessing a transitional economy. This is highly important because such a statement would recognize the need for providing a non-discriminatory regime for Russia on global markets. Among other things, the G-7 should revise or rescind various legal acts impeding our access to such markets. This would meet both Russian and our partners' interests. The fact of the matter is that our greater export revenues would make it easier for Russia to service both its own and former Soviet debts.

Russia's special status as a debtor and creditor nation should not be disregarded either. This country is a major donor granting easy-term credits to CIS states; in fact, such a policy makes it possible to uphold socioeconomic stability all over the former Soviet Union.

The Seven Plus One formula should be developed in the future, with the G-7 and Russia regularly discussing economic issues. It is to be hoped that the forthcoming Naples summit will become a major step toward mutual rapprochement, with the G-7 summit opening up new opportunities for realizing the necessity of a wide-ranging partnership in the construction of a stable and democratic world.

[back to top]

History of Relations Between the G-7 and the Russian Federation

The G-7 includes the world's seven major industrialized nations Great Britain, Italy, Canada, the United States, France, Germany and Japan.

The G-7's London summit was held on July 14-16, 1991. USSR President, Mikhail Gorbachev, was invited to attend at the time. The summit adopted a plan for aiding the Soviet Union, granting it associated IMF and World-Bank membership; the plan also called for Western technical assistance in helping the Soviet military industrial complex to switch over to civilian production.

The G-7's ministers of finance conferred in Paris on August 30,1991, discussing financial and economic aid to the USSR. The G-7's financial experts held their conference in Dresden in mid-September 1991 to debate economic and humanitarian relief aid to the USSR.

The G-7's deputy ministers of finance met in Paris on November 68,1991 to agree on rendering financial aid to the USSR and on introducing a moratorium on Soviet external-debt payments.

The G-7's representatives met with former Soviet republics' heads of government in Moscow late in November 1991, signing a communique on deferring Soviet debts worth $3.6 billion and agreeing to set up an interstate committee to monitor compliance with debt-servicing operations.

The G-7's ministers of finance and heads of its central banks met on January 29, 1992 in Garden City, USA to discuss the principles of Russia's and other former Soviet republics' participation in the IMF.

The G-7's ministers of finance and heads of its central banks conferred in Washington D.C. on April 26,1992, with Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Yegor Gaidar, taking part in the talks. It was decided to furnish Russia with a $24-billion multilateral financial-aid package and allow further deferment of the Russian external debt-repayment plan.

The G-7 held its Munich summit on July 6-8, 1992, with its leaders meeting President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation. The G-7 turned down US President George Bush's proposal to admit Russia as a fully fledged G-7 member. It was also decided to set aside $700 million for the modernization of Russian nuclear power plants, with the concluding economic declaration supporting the said cooperation strategy between the Russian Government and the IMF.

The G-7's ministers of finance and heads of its central banks conferred on September 19, 1992 in Washington D.C. The conference decided to set up a special group to render technical assistance to Russia.

The G-7's ministers of finance and heads of its central banks met on February 27, 1993 to discuss measures aimed at supporting Russia's transition to market economics.

The G-7's ministers of finance and foreign ministers conferred in Tokyo on April 14-15,1993. The meeting was attended by Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev and Deputy Prime Minister, Boris Fedorov. It was decided to set aside an emergency aid package worth a total of $43.4 billion to Russia, including deferred Russian debts worth $15 billion. The conference supported the Russian reforms being implemented by President Boris Yeltsin.

The G-7's Tokyo summit was held on July 7-9, 1993. The summit decided to lift all restrictions on trade with Russia by the year 2003, with COCOM exports-control committee virtually ceasing to exist. It was also decided to furnish Russia with a $3-billion aid package with a view to facilitating the privatization and reorganization of its enterprises. The G-7 agreed to set up a support group in Moscow; this group will help implement Western aid programms on Russian territory.

The G-7's ministers of finance and heads of its central banks met in Kronberg, Germany on February 26-27, 1994, with the Russian delegation assuring those present that monthly inflation rates would be reduced from 20 - 7%.

The G-7 will hold its Naples, Italy summit on July 8-10, 1994. The summit will be attended by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

G-7 AID TO RUSSIA (some statistics)

The G-7's ministers of finance and foreign ministers met in Tokyo on April 1993. It was decided to present Russia with a $43.4-billion aid package.

This aid package is being distributed in the following way:

All in all, $14.2 billion have been set aside to promote the Russian privatization process, streamline market mechanisms and infrastructure and facilitate the development of the nation's power industry and agricultural complex. The G-7 has set aside a total of $10.6 billion to date, including five billion in the form of export credits. Another five billion, or so, will be channelled into Russia by the end of the current calendar year. In addition, the World Bank will endorse additional loans worth $2.3 billion already in the near future.

The IMF and World Bank are channelling another $4.1 billion as part of the so-called "initial stabilization programme". Russia has already received about $3.5 billion. Another World-Bank loan will be approved in July.

The "complete stabilization programme" is virtually hanging in mid-air. As a matter of fact, the IMF has set aside just one billion dollars for that programme (out of a projected $4 billion). Russia still can't lay its hands on the promised $6-billion rouble-stabilization fund.

The remaining $15 billion are not made up of "live" money (hard cash); on the contrary, they consist of factoring operations, as regards the mammoth $83-billion Russian external debt. This sum includes $7.2 billion worth of deferred debts (as allowed by the Paris Club's June 1994 meeting). In exchange, Russia has agreed to pay out $3.04 billion as part of a debt-repayment/servicing plan, pertaining to all debts accumulated ever since January 1992.

[back to top]

For Your Information: G7 Summits

The G-7, which unites the largest Western nations (Great Britain, Italy, Canada, the United States, Germany, France and Japan), holds its annual summits with a view to discussing topical economic and political issues, working out agreed-upon anti-crisis decisions and defining ways of overcoming mutual contradictions.

The first G-7 summit was held November 1975 in Rambouillet, France, on the latter's initiative and was attended by the leaders of six nations. The Canadian Prime-Minister has been included on summit lists since 1976, while an EEC representative has attended G-7 summits since 1977.

As a rule, the discussion centres around the following issues the state of the economy and its prospects, problems pertaining to the settlement of international-trade issues, currency problems and East- West relationships. International political issues have been playing a more and more important role in the G-7's activities since the early 1980s (on a par with coordination of economic policies).

The G-7 held its summits in:

1. 1975 Rambouillet (France)
2. 1976 Puerto Rico (USA)
3. 1977 London (UK)
4. 1978 Bonn (West Germany)
5. 1979 Tokyo (Japan)
6. 1980 Venice (Italy)
7. 1981 Ottawa (Canada)
8. 1982 Versailles (France)
9. 1983 Williamsburg (USA)
10. 1984 London (UK)
11. 1985 Bonn (West Germany)
12. 1986 Tokyo (Japan)
13. 1987 Venice (Italy)
14. 1988 Toronto (Canada)
15. 1989 Paris (France)
16. 1990 Houston (USA)
17. 1991 London (UK)
18. 1992 Munich (Germany)
19. 1993 Tokyo (Japan)
20. The 1994 G-7 summit will be held in Naples, Italy.

[back to top]

On Russo-Italian Relations

Italy was one of the first countries to recognize Russia as successor to the USSR.

The official visit of the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, to Rome on December 19 - 20, 1991, became a new landmark in the evolution of relations between Russia and Italy. The joint declaration on the fundamentals of bilateral relations, a culture protocol, a declaration on cooperation in defense conversion and several other economic instruments laid a solid groundwork for a steady development of Russo- Italian relations.

The Italian President, Francesco Cossiga, paid a return visit to Russia in 1992. After meeting his Russian opposite number, Boris Yeltsin, the political dialogue assumed more substance.

The Russo-ltalian summit talks helped the countries conceive new elements of partnership and formalise them in a treaty on friendship and cooperation, initialled during the visit of the Italian foreign minister, Emilio Colombo, to Moscow in November 1992.

That document, based on the 1990 inter-state agreement, highlighted issues of cooperation in security, defense conversion and information areas. The broad-visioned document mentioned, for the first time, the need to link Russia to regional and sub-regional cooperation networks. A special provision called for an inter-governmental council on economic, industrial and monetary cooperation.

On January 27 - 29, 1994, Russian Prime Minister, Victor Chernomyrdin, visited Italy to sign a number of documents, including a memorandum of intent concerning an agreement to encourage and protect capital investment between the two governments and another government agreement on the status of Russian cemeteries in Italy and Italian military graves in Russia dating back to World War 11. Mr Chernomyrdin's talks focused on the need to transform the G-7 into a G-8, starting with the Naples meeting. The Italian party advocated greater links with Russia in the near future and indicated its preparedness to nudge its partners towards closer interaction too.

Italian leaders committed themselves to campaigning for the Russian specifics in international economic and monetary organizations.

On June 20, 1994, Victor Chernomyrdin invited his Italian opposite number, Sylvio Berlusconi, to visit Russia and sign a treaty on friendship and cooperation.

The foreign ministers of the two countries have already met twice this year, maintaining a good tradition of regular chats.

Russo-ltalian political dialogue is marked by its highly businesslike and specific nature. It incorporates a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from the Yugoslav settlement to nuclear non- proliferation. Military-political cooperation is evolving alongside other areas. Italy has given Russia 7.5 million dollars for the procurement of equipment to dismantle Russian nuclear munitions. The first contracts in defense conversion have been inked. In October 1992 Italy expressed its readiness to help Russia comply with the chemical warfare convention.

In the economic cooperation area, Italy is the second-largest European partner of Russia, outstripped by Germany only. In 1993 bilateral trade turnover totalled 3,735 million dollars (2,629 million dollars in export and 1,106 million dollars in import). Russia accounts for 84% of Italy's trade with the ex-USSR. Russia's exports to Italy are primarily composed of energy sources (gas, oil, petroleum products), timber and ferrous metals, and imports of machinery, equipment, chemicals, piping, rolled stock, textiles, foodstuffs and staples. In the same year the two countries signed an agreement on a 1.9-billion dollars energy project, named Gazprom-ENI, envisaging modernization of Russian gas pipelines.

On April 18 - 20, 1994, the Italian Minister of Treasury took part in the EBRD conference in St.Petersburg. A Russian government delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Shokhin, visited Milan on April 29 - 30 to participate in the world economic forum.

Russo-ltalian cultural links are evolving rapidly, stemming from the 1960 framework agreement and several other official instruments, setting a basis for cooperation of museums (Hermitage and Uffici), moviemakers, youth exchanges and protection of cultural landmarks. The Mariinsky ballet company came to Italy on a tour in 1993, followed by several exhibitions the Kremlin Treasures, Italy Seen by Russian Painters (19th century pieces), Central Asian Treasures, etc. A bilateral programme of cooperation in the field of culture for 1994 - 1996 was signed in April 1994.

Relations between Russia and Italy may set an example for relations with other Western partners. Russia appreciates the effort undertaken by Italy, which hosts the summit in Naples, to launch fully fledged cooperation between Russia and the G-7 and the emergence of a political G-8.

[back to top]

Russia-Italy: Trade and Economic Cooperation

Russian-ltalian trade and economic contacts have been developing on a new basis over the last several years.

In December 1991 and in January 1994, two countries signed a joint declaration on the basic principles of their relations, as well as a bilateral government statement. Russia and Italy agreed to cooperate with each other and apply previously signed agreements with due account of ongoing changes in the interests of their bilateral relations. Apart from that, the sides intend to fully abide by the commitments stemming from the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter For a New Europe and other CSCE documents.

Italy is one of Russia's major trade and economic partners, ranking third in Europe in terms of bilateral trade turnover. The annual bilateral trade volume stands at around $4 billion.

For its part, Russia exports fuel-and-energy products to Italy (natural gas, crude oil, petroleum products and bituminous coal), as well as metals, timber, machinery (passenger cars, metal-cutting lathes, tools, forging equipment, presses, stamps and ball bearings, for the most part).

In the meantime, Italian firms are actively invading the Russian market (along every conceivable direction). This concerns those fields where Italian industry has scored the greatest breakthroughs, outstripping other nations. Russia gets Italian-made machinery, plant, chemicals, foodstuffs and agricultural produce. Italy supplies to the Russian market a wide range of goods, which were rarely seen there until recently (footgear, knitwear, clothing, furniture, drinks, perfumes, natural sprays, etc.).

We'd like to point out the high level of economic cooperation with Russia and Italy deciding to expand such cooperation in accordance with new programs and initiatives so that the two nations' production structures mutually complement each other. Italy has also voiced its readiness to contribute to the development of Russian market economics.

Several decrees aiming to step up local economic reforms have been issued in Russia not so long ago. Among other things, they have abolished the license and quota system in foreign trade; this is expected to promote business ties in such promising fields as industry; electricity supply; conversion; telecommunications; production, processing, storage and distribution of agricultural produce; science-and-technological cooperation; space research; environmental protection and transportation.

Russia and Italy have agreed to hold regular consultations in order to specify and define new top-priority cooperation avenues, exchange information pertaining to major projects, find additional possibilities for drawing up self-financing projects and cooperate in personnel training. The Italian side had agreed to furnish consultative- technical assistance in organization and-management, vocational training, and business and crediting operations. The Italians also undertake to share their experience as regards small and medium-sized enterprises and private farms. Italy will also continue rendering financial support to Russia's reforms as part of G-7 and European Union activities.

Russia and Italy have agreed to streamline the bilateral treaty base. The signing of the bilateral friendship and cooperation treaty, which has already been initialled, and the creation of the Russian-ltalian council for economic, industrial and currency-financial cooperation are expected to become an important stage in our relations. The aforesaid treaty conforms to the positive essence of Russia-EU relations. The implementation of the recently-signed Russia-EU partnership and cooperation agreement is expected to become a real milestone in the development of their relations.

Russia and Italy have agreed to complete in the near future their bilateral talks on investment-promotion and investment-protection agreements, as well as agreements on avoiding dual taxation and restructuring the Russian debt in accordance with the Paris Club accords. The sides have signed a protocol on joint activities to verify uninsured commercial indebtedness and its subsequent settlement.

The sides also promote the creation of joint ventures in their countries. Nearly 300 Russian-ltalian joint ventures have already been set up in Russia. These ventures operate in the light, sewing, leather- making, food, electrical-engineering, petrochemical and other industries. More than 20 mixed companies involving Russian enterprises and organizations operate in Italy. They trade in machinery, plant, fish products, timber, petroleum products, metals, chemicals, drugs, etc. and deal with tourism and transport-forwarding operations.

In 1993 the Gas-Prom national shareholding company and Italy's ENI Group signed an agreement on cooperation in the gas industry. That agreement serves as a good example of efforts to improve the bilateral trade balance. It can also be seen as a major step toward intensive bilateral industrial and technological cooperation, which is being prodded on by our contacts in the energy field. The implementation of that agreement will contribute greatly to the development and use of Russia's energy resources, helping create new jobs in Italy (via the production of capital and consumer goods and services, with quite a few Italian suppliers taking part in this process).

The G-7's Naples summit is to take place in July 1994. The Russian and Italian governments believe that the forthcoming summit presents an important opportunity for discussing present-day initiatives to facilitate Russia's progress toward market economics.

It is to be hoped that the participation of the Russian Federation President, Boris Yeltsin, in the G-7 summit and his talks with Western representatives, will positively affect international cooperation in general and Russian-ltalian relations in particular.

[back to top]

Source: Russian Information Agency "Novosti"