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World Cup to add 0.1 to 0.2 percentage
points to Russia GDP says central bank

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- The holding of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will increase Russia’s Growth Domestic Products (GDP) in 2018 by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points, the country’s central bank said Friday.

"Holding such a large-scale international event will additionally support the growth (in production) in the second quarter, and by the end of the year, its contribution to GDP growth may reach 0.1-0.2 percentage points," governor of the Russian central bank Elvira Nabiullina was quoted by Tass news agency as saying at a press conference.

Meanwhile, the head of the bank said the World Cup will have little influence on Russia’s inflation, with only short-time effects in certain cities and on certain goods and services, primarily consumed by tourists.

She also expressed hope that the games will only have a positive impact on "expectations and sentiments" of both Russian citizens and foreign guests.

According to its press service, the central bank forecasts Russia’s annual GDP growth in 2018 to be 1.5 to 2 percent, and annual inflation 3.5 to 4 percent at the end of the year.

The 2018 World Cup kicked off here on Thursday and is scheduled to be held till July 15, with a total of 64 matches to be played at 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities.


Non-attendance at World Cup not boycott: Finnish Foreign Minister

HELSINKI Russia (Xinhua) -- While Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini announced on Friday that he would not be going to Russia to watch the World Cup games, the foreign ministry said the non-attendance decision is not a boycott.

Until Friday, Soini had not responded to media questions about his World Cup plans.

Earlier, other leading Finnish politicians, including President Sauli Niinisto, Prime Minister Juha Sipila and Sports Minister Sampo Terho, had announced they would not go but noted that it was not a boycott.

Finland is not playing in the games.

The Finnish attitude differs from that of neighboring Sweden. Swedish Sports Minister Annika Stranhall recently expressed concern with the state of democracy and human rights in Russia.

In the Nordic area, besides Sweden, Icelandic leaders have also said they would stay away on a boycott basis.

Reports about the intentions of Danish politicians have been conflicting.

Markku Jokisipila, director of the parliamentary research center at Turku University, told national broadcaster Yle that the stands of leading Finnish politicians are in line with the Finnish policy towards Russia.

"Finland does not accept all the actions on Russia, but wants to keep the dialogue open between the two countries."

Jokisipila said a Finnish boycott would have been odd as Finland has been arranging bilateral meetings at ministerial and head of state level.

In April, 60 members of the European parliament signed an open letter calling European politicians not to go to the games.

"It did not lead to a joint EU approach, however.



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