According to a report posted on the Kremlin site Nov. 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the CEO of VTB Bank Andrei Kostin, who has a long-standing close relationship with Putin. They mainly reviewed the state of the Russian shipbuilding sector, which VTB is investing in heavily, but Kostin also filed a clear complaint on the Russian Central Bank’s high interest rate policy—a complaint which the Kremlin chose to include in their report, although Putin continued to back the Central Bank policy.
Kostin was generally very upbeat: “Our outlook is one of great optimism.… Here is a positive example: The Baltic Shipyard is implementing a program on orders from Rosatom and building nuclear-powered icebreakers for the Northern Sea Route. Russia is the only country to manufacture this type of vessel.”
Putin responded: “This is excellent. Your deep involvement, including your visits to the plants, is commendable.” Putin also raised the importance to “explore innovative technologies.” Kostin concurred, and added: “I met a variety of directors. Some of them have found innovative solutions, even in the situations where funding was inadequate. Overall, I am certain that we will be up to the task; people are poised and motivated to get this done. In general, I have not detected any negative sentiments. I met with the teams and engaged in discussions. Notably, many workers are quite young, and there is a palpable sense of enthusiasm in their work.”