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    MOSCOW RELIES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF TIES WITH RUSSIAN BUSINESSMEN OUTSIDE RUSSIA

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    MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti). Ties with Russian businessmen in non-CIS countries have a great potential, Georgy Muradov, head of the international relations department of Moscow, said Wednesday opening the 1st international conference "Our Compatriots in the USA - Economic Co-operation Potential." In his opinion, the forum will help "step up contacts and advance to the fulfilment of two key tasks" - strengthen ties with compatriots as a king of "an economic bridge" between the two countries, and ensure Moscow's assistance to the creation of "self-sufficient and viable Russian diasporas outside Russia." Muradov admitted that "Russo-American trade is not big." In his words, about 1% of the US population (about 3 million people) are ethnic Russians and "their average living standards are two times higher than the living standards of average Americans." The department head spoke at length about the development of ties with compatriots, which he thinks "should be developed and promoted." Of the 160 offers that came from Russian businessmen living outside Russia in 2003, we chose only 25 interesting projects, Muradov said. Most projects were suggested by Russian businessmen who live in the CIS and Baltic countries.
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