Thursday, 12 November 2020

Pandemic Has Affected Croatia-Russia Economic Relations, Forum Hears

ZAGREB, November 12, 2020 - The COVID pandemic has affected Croatian-Russian economic relations, with trade dropping 21% in the first seven months of the year, and the focus should be on turning the trend around, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Thursday in a press release on a Russian-Croatian banking forum.

In the first seven months of 2020, trade between the two countries totalled US$ 228 million, down 21% on the year. We must focus on turning the trend around and work together on returning to the volume of trade which used to exceed $2 billion, the online forum was told.

Banks must play a key role in that, said Josip Zaher, the HGK vice president for commerce and financial institutions.

Croatian Ambassador to Russia Tomislav Car said relations between the two countries were slowly becoming dynamic.

"Both the interstate and economic elements are looking forward, which is a message of encouragement to all of us. However, behind all that are people with their knowledge and ambitions," he said, adding that the embassy and the HGK's Moscow office were always at entrepreneurs' disposal.

Russian Ambassador to Croatia Andrey Nesterenko said all efforts must be focused on the normalisation of relations, with emphasis on banking.

In these difficult times it is very important to continue with activities and maintain continuity in relations. It is also important to learn from one another, exchange ideas and thus find new opportunities in this crisis, he said, announcing that the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation would meet soon.

The forum's main topic was banking in conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Zaher said commercial bank assets at the end of June totalled HRK 444.3 billion, up 4.4% from the end of 2019, while bank profits plunged 48% annually.

The forum was organised by the Association of Russian Banks and the HGK, with the support of the Russian and Moscow Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Russian Ambassador Azimov, Moscow, Saint Petersburg Offering Assistance to Zagreb

ZAGREB, March 24, 2020 - The Zagreb crisis management head Pavle Kalinić on Monday announced that the city authorities would set up a special support fund and that many, including Russia's Ambassador to Croatia, Anvar Azimov, the cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg offered support to the quake-hit Croatian capital city.

Kalinić told the commercial RTL broadcaster that experts from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and the Faculty of Architecture had been also engaged to help in efforts to assess the extent of damage on buildings in the city.

He recalled that statics experts had inspected 450 damaged buildings during the day and added that a lot of chimneys had been damaged and that falling bricks had caused more damage to pavements and parked cars.

More news about the earthquake can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Ambassador: Croatia Could Promote Good Russia-Europe Relations

ZAGREB, March 6, 2020 - Croatia could instigate the establishment of good relations between Russia and Europe during its presidency of the Council of the European Union, Russian Ambassador Anvar Azimov said in Rijeka on Friday.

In our opinion, Russia and Europe are the most natural friends in the world today. I would like it very much if your EU presidency marked the start of the establishment of good relations between Russia and Europe, he said.

Croatia has that possibility today and your wise Croatian government can make it happen and become the initiator of such relations, he added.

Azimov visited Rijeka for the unveiling of a bust of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin near the Astronomy Centre. The Russian Embassy to Croatia and the City of Rijeka participated in the erection of the bust.

Azimov also commented on Thursday's talks between presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at which, he said, a very important decision was made as yet another important step towards establishing peace in Syria.

The two presidents agreed on ceasing all military operations and on a joint patrol of Russian and Turkish troops, Azimov said.

We are interested in reaching peace in Syria as soon as possible to stop the movement of migrants into Europe. Yesterday's decision testifies to Russia's influence and power, and Europe must appreciate Russia's role. Instead of imposing sanctions on Russia, Europe must establish friendly relations with it, he added.

More news about relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to Visit Croatia in Late April

ZAGREB, February 16, 2020 - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Zagreb at the end of April and Croatia sees Russia as a partner with whom one should talk, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Munich on Saturday.

Grlić Radman met with Lavrov on the margins of the Munich Security Conference 2020.

He later told reporters that they discussed the two countries' expectations from the Zagreb visit.

"It is in our interest to know what Russia's positions are. We care about partner relations," Grlić Radman said.

He also met with his Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar, but said that they did not have the time to discuss the two countries' border dispute that has been burdening their relations since the break-up of the Yugoslav federation.

Radman said the talks with Cerar focused on EU enlargement and Croatia's current EU presidency.

Slovenia insists on the implementation of an international arbitration ruling on the border dispute which Croatia does not recognise, offering bilateral talks on the border instead.

The Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg in late January said it did not have jurisdiction to rule on Slovenia's complaint against Croatia in which it alleged that the non-implementation of the border arbitration award breached EU law.

More news about relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

JGL Company Earns 40% of Its Revenues on Russian Market

ZAGREB, December 10, 2019 - For Jadran Galenski Laboratorij (JGL) the Russian market is crucial because 40% of its revenues comes from that market and the company is the second largest Croatian business in Russia, JGL Board chair Ivo Usmiani said during a visit by Russian Ambassador Anvar Azimov to that Rijeka-based pharmaceutical company on Monday.

Ambassador Azimov toured JGL units, talking with his hosts about the company's operations, markets, problems related to business operations in Russia, etc.

JGL specialises in the development and production of sterile products with added value in ophthalmology and otolaryngology.

Company officials say that the company is present on 50 markets but that the Russian market is its biggest and very important market. They see Russia as a partner and build their business story in Russia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and almost all former Soviet republics.

JGL employs 205 people in Russia, and its best-selling products are nasal decongestants, skin care products, products against travel nausea and eye drops.

Russian distributors annually buy JGL products worth around 3 billion roubles, Usmiani said, stressing that the company had never come across a closed door in Russia.

JGL has not felt the consequences of sanctions against Russia or problems between the EU and Russia and the biggest uncertainty is whether on 1 January 2020 serialisation of pharmaceutical products will go into force on the Russian market because in that case the Rijeka company will have to change its product packaging, as well as how drug registration will be implemented in the Eurasian Union.

For JGL it is also important how macroeconomic growth in Russia will look like in the coming years and how it will reflect on Russians' purchasing power.

Azimov said that the situation would be stable. The Russian Federation wants good relations, he said, adding that the sanctions imposed on Russia were harmful both for Russia and for other countries.

Russia could realise many investments in Croatia and help more, for example in shipbuilding and gas supply, he said.

More news about relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Large Potential for Cooperation between Croatian and Russian Companies Exists

ZAGREB, November 13, 2019 - The potential for cooperation between Croatian and Russian companies is big, notably in energy, agriculture, the pharmaceutical, food and textile industries, and tourism, the Croatia-Novosibirsk Business Meeting at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) heard on Wednesday.

The HGK has been supporting the expansion of its members to Russia for years, HGK vice president Ivan Barbarić said, adding that the Novosibirsk region could offer a lot to entrepreneurs who dared to venture into that faraway and, to Croatians, still exotic market.

The region is rich in natural resources with large reserves of gas, coal, bauxite and other metals, huge forest resources and mineral springs, and a very developed and diversified economy, he said.

Its leading industries are aviation, energy, the manufacture of textile and farming machinery, electronic components and devices, and metallurgy, Barbaric said, voicing hope that entrepreneurs would find profitable joint projects.

Russian Ambassador Anvar Azimov said an intergovernmental commission of the two countries would meet in Moscow later this month, including four working groups that would define future cooperation in the economy and culture.

He said Croatia-Russia trade in 2018 totalled 1.5 billion dollars and that he hoped this year it would surpass 2 billion dollars.

He said hydrocarbons accounted for 95% of Russian exports to Croatia and that they would like to diversify.

Azimov said 200 million dollar worth of Croatian exports to Russia was expected by the end of the year but that this was still too little, adding that he could remember when the exports reached 500 million dollars.

He invited Croatian companies to be more active on the Russian market. Competition is big but I am confident that there are niches also for Croatian companies, he said, urging Croatian entrepreneurs to promote their interests on the Russian market more aggressively.

The president of the Novosibirsk City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yuri Bernadsky, said now was the time to raise economic cooperation to a higher level.

In one year alone, trade between the Novosibirsk region and the EU went up by over 50%, gross regional product reached 18.5 billion dollars and more than half the industries are high-tech, he said.

The presentation of investment possibilities in Croatia and Novosibirsk was followed by meetings of 25 Croatian and Russian companies.

More news about relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Croatia's Presidency Can Advance Relations between EU and Russia

ZAGREB, November 12, 2019 - Croatia's presidency over the European Union in the first half of 2020 can facilitate efforts to upgrade relations and dialogue between the EU and Russia, Russian Ambassador to Zagreb Anvar Azimov said on Tuesday.

Addressing a conference on gas as the future of energy, the ambassador said that both Europe and Russia suffered losses due to sanctions imposed on Moscow over the issue of Crimea.

Therefore, Azimov proposed that during its EU chairmanship Croatia should organise an energy conference bringing together European and Russian experts, and described such an event as the start of dialogue between the two sides.

Croatia can thus be a bond reconnecting the two sides, said Azimov at the conference, organised by the Zagreb-based Večernji List daily newspaper.

He said that losses suffered by EU member-states due to sanctions against Russia totalled 200 billion euros annually.

For more than 60 years, Russia has been a guarantor of provision of energy supplies to Europe, he said.

Azimov underlined that Russia annually delivers two billion cubic metres of gas to Croatia at a favourable price and that supplies to European buyers exceeded 210 million cubic metres annually.

The Russian ambassador claimed that the United States strongly lobbied for as little Russian gas as possible in Europe.

He added that although it was a disciplined member of the European Union, Croatia should also take care of its own interests.

Azimov also said that Russia had never used gas provision as a political instrument to exert pressure against any country.

More news about relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Croatian Economy Minister Meets Russian Agriculture Minister

ZAGREB, September 14, 2019 - Croatian Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Darko Horvat met with Russia's Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev in Dubrovnik on Friday and the Russian minister underscored that interest exists to further expand cooperation between Russian and Croatian companies and invited Horvat to attend the Agro-Industrial fair that will be held October 9 - 12 in Moscow.

The ministry said in a press release that over the past three years economic-trade cooperation between Croatia and Russia was constantly increasing, which can be seen in commodity exchange statistics as well as in the growing number of arrivals and bed nights generated by Russian tourists. An inter-government commission for economic and science-technological cooperation, which Horvat and Patrushev chair, especially contributes to bilateral relations.

"The commission isn't just a formality but an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences, clearly define the objectives and direction of bilateral cooperation, and deepen the good relations between our countries. That is why I am pleased that our meetings are held according to plans and that we are prepared to work on having our friendly and economic relations grow," Minister Horvat underscored, adding that he was particularly pleased that in the first 7 months of this year the number of Russian tourists had increased by 10% compared to the same period last year.

Patrushev confirmed that interest exists to further expand cooperation between Russian and Croatian companies. He invited Minister Horvat to attend the Agro-Industrial Fair in Moscow in October.

The more often we meet, the more cooperation between our countries gets better and more successful. It is important to talk openly about all issues that can help us in further intensifying our economic cooperation, Patrushev said.

Both sides expressed their satisfaction with a project to supply gas to the oil refinery in Bosanski Brod after the project's key partners, Croatia's Crodux and Russia's Zarubezhneft, singed binding documents in May this year regarding the project's implementation.

Cooperation continues to focus on industry, energy, tourism, agriculture, science and technology, the ministry said in the press release.

Total investments by Russia's investors in Croatia to date amount to more than 410 million euro and in the first four months of 2019 Croatia's exports to Russia increased by 21.6% on the year.

The 9th meeting of the inter-government commission will be held in Moscow before the end of this year, Minister Horvat advised.

More news about relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Best of St. Petersburg Theatre at Zagreb's HNK

ZAGREB, September 13, 2019 - The Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Zagreb is launching its new season with four of the best plays by the St. Petersburg theatre as part of the St. Petersburg International Theatre Season Festival which opens on Thursday with a play entitled "Taras" based on Nikolai Gogol's novel "Taras Bulba".

HNK director Dubravka Vrgoč said that this is a unique opportunity for Croatia's public to see what the theatre in that significant Russian city is like and for Russian to be heard in Zagreb's HNK and to see the current trends in Russian theatre.

"We are happy that we can launch the season with a festival, an unusual event because it represents the best of the best from the St. Petersburg theatre season," Vrgoč told a press conference.

The festival's art director Victor Minkov considers that such good cooperation as the one between the HNK and St. Petersburg is rare and that this, the 13th season, presents productions that that city can be proud of.

Russia's ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov said that this is yet another page in the development of Russian-Croatian relations and that he is convinced that visitors will enjoy the programmes that have been prepared.

More theatre news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Baltic House Festival Theatre to Open St. Petersburg Theatre Festival in Zagreb

ZAGREB, September 2, 2019 - A theatrical production by the Baltic House Festival Theatre based Nikolai Gogol's "Taras Bulba" will open the 13th St. Petersburg International Theatre Season Festival in the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) on September 13 and will run until September 17, bringing four productions.

Promoting the festival, HNK underscored that the productions will be directed by leading St. Petersburg directors.

The festival presents contemporary art produced in the "northern capital" of Russia and is aimed at motivating an exchange of creativity and strengthening cultural-artistic ties.

An exhibition of photographs by Pavel Franchishin will be presented for the duration of the festival, showing 20 urban landscape works.

The St. Petersburg International Theatre Season Festival was established in 2007 with the aim of strengthening and developing relations between St. Petersburg and theatre centres in various European countries by exchanging ideas and organising important cultural events.

The Festival has since been presented in Prague, Helsinki, Milan, Marseilles, Belgrade, Tallinn and other cities.

More theatre news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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