Russia's leisure marine market could be given a serious boost this year, following the expected return of significant amounts of capital to the country by Russia's legion of super rich and oligarchs. Amid the pressure of ongoing sanctions imposed by the West, many of Russia's UHNWIs (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) no longer feel as comfortable as they once did living in Western Europe and are looking to transfer at least part of their assets to their homeland.
The latest wave of sanctions, imposed by the US, is having direct impact with the real threat of resident Russians' assets being frozen. A number of high-profile oligarchs have been targeted so far resulting in their businesses being unable to use the US dollar system or to conduct business with Americans.
The UK, a destination of choice for Russia's oligarchs, is also using anti-corruption measures to target politically significant Russians.
According to numerous reports, in retaliation the Kremlin has drawn up plans for new domestic tax havens aimed at those Russian millionaires and billionaires considering repatriating their wealth - assets that will inevitably feature boats and superyachts.
To date, almost 100% of yachts and boats owned by Russians have been registered abroad, primarily in Western Europe. The number of yachts and boats, registered under the domestic jurisdiction, has until now been insignificant thanks to privacy issues, lack of necessary yachting infrastructure in the country and high taxes.
However, according to sources close to Russia's leading yacht distributors and the Russian Ministry of Sport and Tourism (a state agency that regulates the development of yachting in Russia ) at least 200 yachts and boats may soon be returned to Russian jurisdiction. Local analysts claim that such a figure would result in additional payments in the form of taxes and other mandatory payments to the Russian federal budget of up to US$300-US$400 million per year.
According to an official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Sport, this money could be invested in the development of yachting in Russia, including the building of new infrastructure.