Mr. Ambassador, trade between Germany and Russia has suffered as a result of the economic sanctions imposed on your country because of Crimea. What is the status of the German-Russian business relationship and do you see it improving?
Indeed, Russian-German commercial and economic relations are facing hard times at the moment.
From the record-breaking €80.8 billion in 2012, mutual trade between the countries dropped by 40 percent to €51 billion in 2015. Unfortunately, this negative dynamic has continued and during the first two months of 2016, the amount of trade between the two countries dropped by 10 percent. But I hope that although now we are still in the near future, the foundation of our relations will remain as solid as it always has been.
Besides, we are always saying in Russia: There is always a silver lining. This means that regarding the cheap ruble right now, in any case, it was greatly appreciated by the producers. That is why they are coming to Russia. They are producing there actively and then sending off for export. We’re also trying to intensify the cooperation between the governmental institutions and we are hoping that in the near future we will see the resumption of activities of the Russian-German High Level Task Force on strategic issues of cooperation in economy and finance. It has already functioned. So the hope is there and I have heard this opinion from many of those involved.