Kesarev Partner Evgeny Roshkov
considers national security policy to be the major factor in Russia's decision-making in relation to investment climate since 2014. The topic was discussed during a roundtable organized by the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC)
in Washington DC on 29 October 2019.
Evgeny described current trends
to keep in mind when making an investment or an M&A decision in Russia to a group of business executives:
- FDI screening and merger control procedures are increasingly influenced by the national security and political logic;
- Both procedures are now equally used to press foreign investors to commit to the Russian market by transferring or localizing the best available technology and corporate know-how;
- The Federal Antimonopoly Service has transformed into an investment 'mega-regulator' with broad powers in FDI control and political will to use them, particularly in relation to global M&A transactions;
- The government prefers to keep strategic assets in hands of local shareholders or sell minority stakes to multi-market investment consortiums, giving priority to Asian investors;
- FDI in strategic industries without the government support becomes ever more complicated. Simultaneously, the role of Russia's sovereign wealth fund RDIF and state-run corporations in supporting and advocating selected strategic investments will further increase.
Evgeny also shared his view on how the new government concept of technical and digital sovereignty
influences foreign investments. He says the internet is seen as part of the critical infrastructure by Russian policy-makers and a potential channel of influence on domestic policy and public opinion. The strategic policy goal of the state is to ensure government control over tech infrastructure and to reduce foreign influence on domestic digital platforms considered to have the highest importance for the development of the national economy.