“Moscow was never going to be an international financial center. That was a joke.”
— A Western banker working in Moscow, to the New York Times.
Twice a year, the financial consulting firm Z/Yen prepares a ranking of about 75 world cities assaying the potency of each as a international financial center.
In September 2011 Moscow ranked #61.
One year later, it dropped to #64.
In March 2013, Moscow fell further to #65.
And in the most recent survey, September 2013, Moscow dropped again, falling to #69.
Despite repeatedly promising to transform Moscow into a leading global financial center, what Vladimir Putin is actually doing is pushing Russia backwards. In the past two years, Moscow has shed nearly 15% of its standing as a world financial center, so that now only a handful of cities are less significant
At present there’s hardly any difference between Moscow’s ranking and that of St. Petersburg, a total international backwater, at #76. Manila, Jakarta and Panama City are all more potent financial centers than Putin’s Moscow.
In fact, St. Petersburg isn’t the only Russian city that’s putting Moscow to shame. The New York Times reports: “A survey by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation even ranked Moscow No. 30 out of 30 Russian cities for ease of doing business.”