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Putin aide assures investors democracy not being curtailed in Russia

Moscow, 28 October: The Russian president's initiatives to abolish the election of governors and create Gazpromneft do not signify a rejection of the democratic line for the development of Russian society, aide to the Russian president Igor Shuvalov said at a conference on "Investing in Russia's future: new markets and opportunities", organized by the Interfax international group and the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

"Following the events of September (events in Beslan - Interfax), the president addressed the nation and the government with new initiatives, such as the appointment of governors and the creation of a single company on the basis of Gazprom and Rosneft. The question on many people's lips is whether democracy is being curtailed, and whether the Russian government is betting on state capitalism," Shuvalov said at the conference. "All efforts by President Vladimir Putin and our team and [Economic Development and Trade Minister] German Gref and [Deputy Prime Minister] Aleksandr Zhukov who spoke here today, are aimed at continuing Russia's development as a democratic state, and there has been no rejection of this course."

"I would like to tell investors that they should continue to invest in Russia," Shuvalov stressed. "Yes, we do face a sovereign risk, and there is work to be done on this. We must fight corruption, and the stranglehold of officials and criminals, but we will do everything we can to protect the individual and their rights and interests."