Russia urged to press on with reforms

OECD Observer

Russia's President Putin in talks with OECD Secretary-General Donald Johnston. ©OECD

OECD Secretary General Donald J. Johnston, at a meeting in Paris with President Putin, urged the Russian authorities to push ahead with their programme of reforms and encouraged them to reap fully the benefits of Russia's long standing co-operation with the OECD.

In a statement, Mr. Johnston said he welcomed "the determination of Russia’s leaders to move forward on a wide range of policy reforms that are critically needed to speed up the integration of Russia into the world economy and so ensure that it fulfills its potential for economic and social progress. Rapid and full implementation of the reform programme will be a crucial test of the government's ability to establish Russia as a fully fledged market economy, based on the rule of law."

Mr. Johnston and President Putin agreed that OECD is well placed to help Russia at the present juncture. The OECD's co-operation programme matches closely Russia's own reform agenda, and its unique method of co-operation provides Russian policy makers with a forum for objective and focused discussion with peers in OECD countries who have faced similar challenges. Keeping in mind the shared goal of future Russia's accession to the OECD, a major challenge ahead is to move Russia closer to OECD standards in a range of policy areas. President Putin and Mr. Johnston agreed to give their personal attention to ensuring that Russia/OECD co-operation continues to receive the high priority it deserves both in Russia and in OECD capitals.

During the course of their discussions, Mr. Johnston and President Putin discussed a number of specific policy areas where the Russian authorities are actively benefiting from OECD reform advice. These include reform of the financial relations between central government and regional governments, investment policy, corporate governance, and the need for better regulation of large infrastructure monopolies.

An OECD Economic Survey of Russia published last year examined the issues posed by Russia’s system of fiscal federalism, or the financial relations between federal, regional and local governments. Reform of this system will be a difficult process and OECD will continue to work with Russian regional and local governments on the implementation of reforms. During his meeting with Mr. Johnston, President Putin stressed that this was "a key priority" for his government. In January 2001, OECD and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade will co-sponsor a conference in Moscow on fiscal federalism.

Mr. Johnston and President Putin agreed on the importance of attracting foreign investment in order to assist and support economic reform. In this context, the OECD has made a number of recommendations for improvements in Russia’s investment climate. President Putin stressed that while some progress had been made in creating the long-term conditions to attract and keep foreign investors, Russia still has a lot to do. Mr. Johnston concluded by mentioning that he intends to be in Moscow in early December for a major conference on investment policies bringing together the G-8 countries and emerging economies.

The OECD has identified corporate governance problems as a major impediment to investment in Russia. The Russian authorities and Russian private sector interests are co-operating closely with the OECD and other institutions to formulate policies to address corporate governance abuses. This will be one of the topics for discussion during a meeting of the Russian Corporate Governance Roundtable in Moscow 15-16 November 2000. Ultimately, this process is expected to result in a series of specific recommendations to the Russian authorities based on the OECD’s Principles of Corporate Governance.

The OECD has also identified reform of Russia’s system of large infrastructure monopolies as an important priority. In many of the sectors covered by these monopolies, competition could be introduced without major difficulties. The Russian government’s economic reform programme calls for a competition policy approach to the regulation of infrastructure monopolies, with a view to promoting investment, efficiency, and lower prices by introducing competition where possible and efficient regulation where necessary. In December, the OECD will hold the first of several meetings with the Ministry for Antimonopoly Policy to discuss ways in which OECD countries have dealt with these matters.

©OECD Observer November 2000

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q1 2019 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% May 2019 annual
Trade: +0.4% exp, -1.2% imp, Q1 2019
Unemployment: 5.2% July 2019
Last update: 8 July 2019

OECD Observer Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Subscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To order your own paper editions,email

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • MCM logo
  • The following communiqué and Chair’s statement were issued at the close of the OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial level, this year presided by the Slovak Republic.
  • Food production will suffer some of the most immediate and brutal effects of climate change, with some regions of the world suffering far more than others. Only through unhindered global trade can we ensure that high-quality, nutritious food reaches those who need it most, Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, and José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, write in their latest Project Syndicate article. Read the article here.
  • Globalisation will continue and get stronger, and how to harness it is the great challenge, says OECD Secretary-General Gurría on Bloomberg TV. Watch the interview here.
  • OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York City.
  • The new OECD Observer Crossword, with Myles Mellor. Try it online!
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2019