Dr. Manfred Moschner, founder of Austria’s ACS Acquisition Services and one of the All–Time Top 10 Deal Makers, attended Gaidar Forum at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow and gave an interview to Invest Foresight, Forum’s main media partner.
As a professional investor, Mr Moschner noted, “Financial literacy is the most important aspect. It is amazing how naïve Russian entrepreneurs are in what they expect from investors. Investment goes by simple rules and common sense, but understanding such rules is not commonplace in Russia. Prospect partners get so much of self confidence here that they think they can make their own rules. But that does not work in the world of investments.”
Commenting on the general situation in Russia, he pointed out, “Apart from difficulties with finding right partners, all other conditions are great in Russia where you have everything you want: a great and a large country, a big internal market, highly educated people, a very high quality of life. The negative issues are bureaucracy and sanctions. Yet sanction can offer a big chance to Russia forcing the country to take advantage of the situation and rebuild some industries which were depending on imports.”
“The ideal world would be one without economic borders where each nation could focus on its strengths. But when this kind of exchange is interrupted by whatever interests or powers, you have to react and replace what is lacking,” Mr Moschner believes. “Russia is a special case, as sanctions gave a kick to Russia to move forward. To some extent, foreign entrepreneurs helped, and the most successful was imports substitution. Market shares of foreign companies in Russia were severely impacted by the sanctions, but they did not want to let the Russian market go. If they were not allowed to export, they decided to build facilities locally. That helped Russia in quite a few industries.”
Given the progress already made by Russia and its potential advancements, “Europe must fear, as when the sanctions are ended, the capacities that are built here now in certain industries are so strong and so price-efficient that when they are allowed to import to Europe, they would cause a lot of difficulties for the existing industries,” Manfred Moschner stressed, adding, “Austria has an advantage of being closer to Russia and its business community is very critical of the sanctions. Such a policy of sanctions does not help anybody – but it helped Russia.”
In his view, “The EU is led by people who act against the interests of the European peoples. As soon as we get rid of those people, the situation will change and the dialogue with Russia will become friendlier again. Most people want to improve their wellbeing, welfare and their lives, and economy and exchange of advantages is the main source of improving wellbeing. So a functioning exchange of goods and free movement of people between Russian and Europe is desirable.”