"We continue to invest, we’re not one of those companies that deinvest. It is important for us to be recognized as a Russian manufacturer and partner that continues to expand its supply network. The Russian railway network still remains the most extensive in the world and it requires new solutions," he declared.
Dr. Frank Schauff, director of the Association of European Business, also remarked that the current attitudes among the German businesses in Russia have significantly improved compared during the last six months.
"Most of the businessmen expect a positive dynamic during the second half of the year. This forum is very important for us due to a high concentration of business representatives," he explained.
Harald Schwager, member of the BASF board of directors, was also quite optimistic regarding his company’s prospects in Russia.
"During the recent years there was a significant agricultural boom which in turn increases our own chances at booming. And Russia, with its vast swathes of fertile soil, is a very lucrative prospect for us," he said.
German political scientist Alexander Rahr also pointed out that the anti-Russian sanctions are becoming a growing concern for the European business circles, and that the European politicians are no longer able to ignore the pressure to do away with these punitive measures.
"Europeans should get together and finally determine which principles exactly the sanctions policy is based upon. We need to return to ‘realpolitik.’ The voice of reason is gradually becoming more and more prevalent in the relations between Russia and the EU," Rahr said.
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is an annual event that invariably draws the attention of major companies across the world. This year the forum was attended by a number of prominent dignitaries, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and a host of executives from the world's leading companies.