Out of the Red: Investment and Capitalism in Russia

06/01/2008 12:00 am EST

Focus:

John Connor

Founder and Portfolio Manager (retired), Third Millennium Russia Fund

Out of the Red: Investment and Capitalism in Russia

After I interviewed John Connor at the recent Las Vegas Financial Advisor Symposium, I couldn’t wait to read his new book detailing the economic, political, and investment climate in Russia.

And I wasn’t disappointed! Connor’s years on the ground in Russia provide a fascinating look at the country from the point-of-view of an expert who has conducted business there through several regime changes. But, readers beware, what you will find in his book is often contrary to many of the news reports published about this burgeoning region of the world. Instead of the ‘big bear’ reminiscent of the days of the Cold War, you may be surprised to know that modern-day Russia is very similar to the US in many aspects of its business and investment environment.

Connor takes the reader through a brief history that succinctly explains the evolving political and economic landscape of Russia. He follows that summary with a comprehensive explanation of the process by which the modern-day leaders in Russia have begun to democratize the country, opening up its borders to tremendous opportunities for investors around the world. However, he also doesn’t sugar coat some of the problems endemic to the country, specifically its back-sliding on government control of certain sectors.

Nevertheless, Connor sees significant potential in the country, and he spends the remainder of the book providing an industry by industry analysis, detailing the risks as well as the potential rewards from investing in sectors such as oil and natural gas, metals and mining, information and communication, consumer sectors, utilities, and infrastructure. And for investors seeking specific recommendations, Conner also includes an examination of a broad range of companies in each sector.

Wrapping up his book, Conner takes issue with some of the major think tanks and discusses why their current views on Russia are often inaccurate. He also details the existing tensions in US-Russian relations, and lastly, provides an up-close analysis of Russia’s future—economically, politically, and importantly—its potential for investors.

Connor’s long-term experience and expertise on Russia provide an interesting look at this country that is rapidly evolving into an important destination for international investors. Whether or not you agree with his take on the political and economic efficacy of its leaders, you may very well agree that its investment climate holds tremendous appeal.

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