Left to right: C. Fred Bergsten, Mikhail Fridman, Peter G. Peterson, Petr Aven, Anders Åslund
Petr Aven, president of Alfa Bank, delivered the Peterson Institute for International Economics's seventh annual Niarchos Lecture May 9, 2008, on the topic of "Russia in the World Economy." Aven was formerly minister of foreign economic relations during the period of decisive Russian economic reforms in the early 1990s. Mikhail Fridman, chairman of the supervisory board of the Alfa Group, joined Aven during the discussion period with the audience.
Russia's role in the world economy has changed dramatically over the past decade. The country defaulted on many of its debts and was bankrupt in 1998. It currently holds the world's third largest reserve of foreign exchange and is a major petropower. Russia's GDP in current US dollars rose from $200 billion in 1999 to approximately $1.27 trillion in 2007.
Petr Aven An economist by training and author of numerous articles on economics and trade, Aven was the guiding force in developing Russia's economic and trade relations with the West during his tenure as minister of foreign economic relations. He served as Russia's representative to the G-7, was personally responsible for establishing the convertibility of the ruble and the liberalization of trade in the government of Yegor Gaider, and was one of the most influential voices in the reform circles of the early 1990s. He has served as president of Alfa Bank since 1994, developing it into a market leader that is routinely recognized as Russia's best privately owned bank by publications such as Euromoney and Global Finance. Aven was recently named Russia's Most Admired Executive in Financial Services by Institutional Investor Magazine.
Mikhail Fridman Mikhail Fridman is principal founder and chairman of the supervisory board of the Alfa Group Consortium, one of the leading business enterprises in Russia. The Group is a market leader in banking, energy, retail, and telecommunications. His historic joint venture with BP in 2003 was the largest foreign investment deal in Russian history at that time. Fridman was named as one of "Europe's Power 25" by Fortune in 2003 and was cited by the Financial Times on its list of "2004 Leaders of the New Europe."
About the Niarchos Lecture Series The Niarchos Lecture is the Institute's premier annual event. Previous speakers in the series, which began in 2001, have been Alan Greenspan, Ernesto Zedillo, Lawrence Summers, Long Yongtu, Mario Monti, and Heizo Takenaka. These events are made possible by a generous grant from the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation, whose support enables the Institute to present a major program each year on a topic of central concern to the US and international policy communities.