New Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has instructed his government to revive the country’s ties with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Bloomberg reported.
The move is seen by analysts as a longshot bid to reopen links with western institutions severed after the Ukraine crisis began in 2014.
According to three people familiar with the effort, Mishustin asked subordinates to draft a plan to rebuild links to the Paris-based organization, possibly even restarting Russia’s efforts to join. The OECD put Russia’s bid on hold after the U.S. and European Union imposed sanctions on Russia after its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
The push to restore ties — even if it doesn’t immediately lead to restarting accession efforts — signals the new government’s desire to reach out to the West and to improve the business climate, two Russian officials said. The move comes as the new government has recognized that Russia’s pivot away from the West since the imposition of sanctions has taken it too far toward China, one of them said.
Joining the OECD would require Russia to take on a number of obligations to improve state and corporate governance, disclosure, and tax policies and reduce corruption that would amount to a “substantial positive signal for investors and entrepreneurs,” said Sergei Guriev, former chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The Economy Ministry said Russia will continue deepening cooperation with the OECD but noted that “since it wasn’t Russia that suspended the accession process, but the OECD itself and its members, the issue of restarting talks isn’t up to us. We haven’t received any such signals from the OECD.”