Medvedev: Russia's image hinders investments in it

The shortage of investment in Russia stems from Russia's reputational losses, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said.

"The image of the country has an applied meaning, its own price. There are many examples when projects with Russian involvement, even such a landmark project as Nord Stream, for instance, were obstructed only because the public in certain countries regarded them with suspicion," he said at a conference of representatives of the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs (Rossotrudnichestvo).

He quoted experts who regard Russia as a country with a high investment potential that remains unused.

"The influx of foreign investment is not on par with the potential and the causes for underinvestment are related to image and reputational losses that we bear. These problems should not be simplified. They exist and we must admit that part of the problem lies in ourselves," Medvedev said.

In this context he spoke of the need to effectively use the venues of Rossotrudnichestvo for presenting the country, its regions and involving 'people's diplomacy', in particular, to revive friendship societies with foreign countries, to advance humanitarian aspects of transborder cooperation and to seek new forms of promoting Russian culture and modern art.

"Rossotrudnichestvo should become a key tool of so-called soft power," he said.

Medvedev said that countries with "strong brands of soft power" attract more direct foreign investment and technologies.

"Based on the analysis of the period between 2005 and 2010 Russia ranked only tenth in the soft power index. As for our military power, we understand that we are not in the tenth place and this is a bad disproportion," he said.

He said that the top three countries in soft power are the United States, France and Germany.

Russian centers of science and culture are strongholds of Russian humanitarian presence abroad, the prime minister said.

"We plan to open 35 new missions by 2015," he said.

Russia should also be competitive on the market of educational services and strive to have at least five Russian universities join the top 100 universities of the world by 2020, he added. The task of Rossotrudnichestvo is to help universities and colleges attract foreign students and postgraduates, to enter international markets of educational services in fields where Russian education is reputed.

He told Rossotrudnichestvo representatives that meetings on this format may become regular.

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