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Augusto Lopez-Claros In ‘Russia, Beyond the Headlines’

29th August 2012

Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of Global Indicators and Analysis at the World Bank Group, says that Russian cities have major problems with setting up electricity services.

In the latest World Bank Doing Business rankings, which look into the way state regulation affects small and medium-sized businesses, Russia was ranked 120th out of 183 economies, which has led to President Vladimir Putin’s decision to focus on improving Russia’s ranking to 20th by 2018.

The ranking is based on four criteria: the ease of starting a business, the ease of registering property, the ease of receiving construction permits and the ease of setting up utilities.

If Russia were represented by a city other than Moscow, the country would rank much higher. “If the capital were moved to Ulyanovsk, we would already accomplish the president’s goal,” said Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov.

Moscow Deputy Mayor Andrei Sharonov believes there are objective reasons for the capital’s poor ranking: “It is a metropolis; everything is more complicated here; Mexico City is also at the bottom of the list in Mexico,” he said. According to the Doing Business standards, the site for a construction project must be empty but, in Moscow, any empty site, if one is available at all, has a complex geological map, with pipelines and power cables.

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