The Moscow Times reports that Russia’s xenophobe-in-chief is now on the warpath against all foreigners in positions of power in Russia:
President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that there should be fewer foreigners in high-level positions at Russian companies. Putin, who has been very wary of foreign influence, urged the country to rely more on its own products — including managers. “It’s necessary to start with personnel, with people, because everything depends on them,” Putin told lawmakers. While the thrust of his remarks appeared to be that an economically growing Russia should be able to provide its own managers for its companies, the comments could chill a foreign business community already struggling with bureaucratic hurdles and corruption. “In our big, leading and today already global companies, mostly in the raw materials sector, you know that the thin layer of top management is mostly made up of foreign specialists,” Putin said in televised remarks late Tuesday. “Until we achieve the ‘replacement of imports’ — not just in big companies but in other sectors of the economy, in administrative activity, we will be swept by imports,” Putin said. “As they used to say, personnel decide everything,” Putin added. Putin has repeatedly emphasized that Russia no longer needs to rely on foreign aid and advice as it did during the troubled years following the 1991 Soviet collapse. He also said there was a need to better educate and prepare Russians for jobs in the country’s growing economy. While there are a number of foreigners in high-level positions at top Russian raw materials companies, the country has been loath to grant foreign companies leading roles in the strategically important sector. Analysts and critics of increased state control over the raw materials sector say Russia needs foreign expertise to make efficient use of its energy riches.