Tag Archives: Business

Russians Increasingly Believe State Planning Better Than Market Economy

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 27, 2015) Russians increasingly believe in an economic system founded on government planning rather than the free market, a poll by the independent Levada Center showed. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that a country’s economic system should be based on “government planning and allocation,” the pollster said in a report this week. On the other […]

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NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Ukraine’s latest challenge: oligarchs with private armies

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

[“Ukraine’s latest challenge: oligarchs with private armies; Gov. Igor Kolomoisky, who was given political power and the right to create a private army last year, last week used that power to seize the state oil company’s headquarters in Kiev” – Christian Science Monitor –  Fred Weir – March 25, 2015] The Christian Science Monitor reports on developments in Ukraine surrounding billionaire […]

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Moscow Times: Internal Rifts in Ukraine Play in Russia’s Favor – Analysts

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 25, 2015) When the incoming Ukrainian government faced the threat of sweeping separatism in the country’s eastern regions one year ago, pugnacious billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky was the only oligarch to help. As other tycoons hovered on the fence, unsure of how the ongoing fighting between pro-Russian rebels and government troops in the country’s […]

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Ukraine’s Catch 22 over its oligarch class

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia – March 25, 2015) As the Soviet Union collapsed in both Russia and Ukraine, small groups of extremely clever and even more ruthless men “privatized” (or if you prefer less exalted language “stole”) all of the prize industrial assets. Virtually overnight, these formerly mid-ranking bureaucrats and functionaries became billionaires, some […]

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Russia Rebounds, Despite Sanctions

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Matthew A. Winkler – March 20, 2015) Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News, writes about markets. [Charts here bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-20/russia-rebounds-despite-sanctions] Sanctions meant to punish Russia for snatching Crimea from Ukraine one year ago were supposed to hurt Russian business. And they did. Russian stocks, bonds and commodities had the worst performance in 2014 of those in […]

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NEWSLINK: Federal Judge Orders Browder to Comply with Subpoena in Money-Laundering Case

U.S. Courthouse for Southern District of New York in Manhattan

Wall Street Journal: A Manhattan federal judge has ordered London-based hedge fund manager William Browder to comply with a subpoena that could force him to reveal the sources of information he gave to federal prosecutors in a high-profile money-laundering case. …

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Botched Law Could Close Hundreds of Foreign Firms’ Rep Offices in Russia

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – March 11, 2015) Representative and branch offices of foreign companies working in Russia are in a race against time to re-register with the authorities or lose their license to operate in the country. The re-registration was intended to streamline bureaucracy for foreign firms, but organizational failures and lack of proper warning have […]

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Russian Corporate Default Fears So Far Overblown – Report

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 6, 2015) Russian companies have defaulted on 6 billion rubles ($98 million) worth of debt payments over the last seven months, according to a report Thursday by the RBC news website. Despite fears of a spate of corporate defaults as Russia’s economy falters under a falling oil price, Western sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine and […]

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Entrepreneur Alexei Gisak: ‘You have to work much harder now’

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – February 17, 2015) RBTH is launching People in Crisis, a series of stories about how people of different social groups are surviving the economic crisis and how their lives have changed. Our first installment features businessman Alexei Gisak – co-founder of the pan-Asiatic fast-food chain Wokker in Moscow. In […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Russia’s Mobutu?

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Derek Brower in London – January 13, 2015) Corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia has sprouted its own sub-genre for Western publishers. Few of the many books, though, have the laser-like focus or amass the same devastating detail as Karen Dawisha’s “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” (Simon & Schuster, New York: 2014). Thanks to Britain’s […]

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Legislation proposes regulation of ‘undesirable’ foreign organizations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – January 16, 2015) A bill that has passed its first reading the Russian State Duma would give the government the right to fine or ban foreign organizations it deems a security threat. Russia is trying to tighten its control over foreign organizations operating in the country. According to a […]

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Best of 2014: People of the year

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – December 22, 2014) The year 2014 was complicated, with groundbreaking events aplenty on the political scene, as well as in technology, media and numerous cultural spheres. RBTH presents the Russians who in its view played the most noteworthy roles in politics, science, and culture this year. 1. […]

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Business New Europe: “Better late than never?”

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 12, 2014) There is an obvious solution to help deal with Russia’s economic slowdown that is being exacerbated by the tumbling oil prices: do those reforms that should have been done ten years ago. It’s kind of obvious. But also just as obvious is that a […]

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Kremlin to sell off 19.5% stake in Rosneft in bid to raise funds

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH- December 9, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to sell off 19.5 percent of the shares in Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft. According to experts, this might help the government generate extra cash amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions. However, this may not be the […]

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Interfax: Kremlin chief of staff “acknowledges” corruption problem

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – December 8, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff has spoken about corruption in Russia. In his remarks, reported by Russian Interfax and TASS news agencies on 8 December, Sergey Ivanov said the Russian government “acknowledged” the problem and had been taking “consistent” steps to deal with it. He dismissed a Transparency International study which ranked Russia 136th […]

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Russia Fails to Make Headway in Global Corruption Ranking

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko- December 4, 2014) Russia slipped three places to rank a dismal 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s annual latest corruption survey, unveiled Wednesday. This is evidence that the Kremlin’s anti-graft crusade declared three years ago has not worked, the watchdog’s deputy chairperson Yelena Panfilova said in Moscow. But a new campaign […]

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Putin offers Russian business ‘full’ offshore capital amnesty

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 4, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a complete capital amnesty, allowing businesses to repatriate offshore funds without fear of the consequences. “We need to finally turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and country,” Putin told the federal assembly in his annual address. “If someone […]

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Interfax: U.S. Department of Agriculture raises Russian grain harvest forecast to 102 mln tonnes

Field of Grain file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 1 (Interfax) – the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service raised its forecast for Russia’s grain harvest in the current farm year (July 2014-June 2015) by 1 million tonnes to in November to 102 million tonnes. It raised its estimate for grain exports by 1.5 million tonnes of 29.5 million tonnes. The USDA boosted its forecast for […]

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Western sanctions could cost Russia up to $170 billion, say analysts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – December 1, 2014) Russia’s overall losses due to Western sanctions over Ukraine amount to $40 billion, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said. A further $90-100 billion will be lost because of the 30-percent drop in oil prices. According to Russian experts, rising inflation and a falling ruble could […]

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Europe’s Biggest Mall Opens in Moscow Amid Economic Decline

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – December 1, 2014) Two days after Europe’s largest shopping mall opened its doors in northwest Moscow at the height of economic woes and the ruble’s free fall, there seemed to be more window-shopping than spending happening at Aviapark. The new shopping center built near the site of a historic field known as […]

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How to Become a Russian Billionaire With No Help from the Kremlin

Krasnodar and Road

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 20, 2014) It’s a hot day in Krasnodar, deep in southern Russia. The action is hot on the soccer field, too. Ari, the local club’s Brazilian striker, takes a pass from the left flank and scores a beautiful goal. Ari (full name Ariclenes da Silva Ferreira) then wheels away in celebration to […]

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McDonald’s Moscow Restaurant Reopens After 3-Month Shutdown

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leslie Patton, Ilya Khrennikov – November 19, 2014) McDonald’s Corp.’s (MCD) largest restaurant in Russia reopened after local officials shuttered the location for three months, an optimistic sign for a company trying to return to business as usual in the country. The outlet, situated in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, resumed business today, said Svetlana Polyakova, a spokeswoman […]

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Russia Tightens Control Over Foreign Ownership of Print Media

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – November 17, 2014) Foreign companies will soon have to seek government permission before buying a more than 25 percent stake in newspapers or magazines in Russia, extending state control in an industry still reeling from legal changes earlier this year, business daily Vedomosti reported late last week. The new amendments, which will […]

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Kommersant Editor Steps Down Amid Rumors of Pressure From Above

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – November 11, 2014) The editor-in-chief of business daily Kommersant has resigned, triggering speculation Monday that he was forced out over a recent article in the newspaper about oil giant Rosneft. While theories behind the move multiplied and media reports fluctuated between calling it a dismissal and a resignation, the editor himself, Mikhail […]

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CNN is allowed to broadcast on cable and satellite channels in Russia – ministry

Satellite Dishes

(Interfax – November 11, 2014) Russian laws are not stop the CNN television network from broadcasting on cable and satellite channels in Russia, the country’s Communications and Mass Media Ministry said in a press release. “Following the CNN television channel’s announcement that it will soon end broadcasts in Russia, the Communications and Mass Media Ministry of the Russian Federation explains […]

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Cable TV Channel CNN Says It Will End Russian Broadcasts in 2015

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 11, 2014) Cable news channel CNN will end its broadcasts in Russia starting on Jan.1, after the country passed a law restricting foreign ownership of media outlets. Time Warner, which owns CNN, said it had notified its Russian cable distributors VimpelCom and Akado that it would stop broadcasting in the country by Dec. 31, […]

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Riches Don’t Come Honestly in Russia, Most Russians Say

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 6, 2014) More than 60 percent of Russians think it is impossible to get rich honestly in their country, according to a survey published Wednesday by the Levada Center, an independent pollster. Fifteen percent of respondents said that it was possible to become wealthy honestly 15 to 20 years ago, but that times have […]

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In Ukraine hope springs eternal

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – CONFERENCE CALL: Ben Aris in Kyiv – October 31, 2014) Two days after a crucial parliamentary election that put the seal on Ukraine’s latest political transformation, SP Advisors, a leading local investment firm, held its first investment conference and invited international investors to Kyiv to debate the Eastern European country’s future. The mood at […]

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Russia Climbs 30 Places in World Bank Business Ranking

World Bank Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sam Skove – October 30, 2014) Despite dire forecasts for its sanctions-struck economy, Russia has leaped up an unprecedented 30 positions in the World Bank’s annual “Doing Business” survey for 2015, the bank said Wednesday. Russia rose to 62nd place out of 189 ranked countries, ahead of China at 90, Brazil at 120 and India […]

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Putin’s Nevsky-Stolypin tandem

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – October 24, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. Many of the headlines about Russia in recent months have quite rightly focused on the geopolitical risks and the sanctions impact on the economy. To that has recently been added the surprisingly abrupt fall in the […]

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Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps.

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps. Date: 15 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 3. Practical aspects of sanctions impact optimization for Russian companies. Violating sanctions or hoping for a world without sanctions is not a sanctions policy. Effective sanctions policies optimize transacting and protect assets. They work at the nexus of regulatory, corporate, international, finance, litigation, procurement […]

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For the Russian elite, loyalty is all: Life has changed for Russia’s elite – and not just their holiday destinations…

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(opendemocracy.net – Yelizaveta Surnacheva – October 16, 2014) Yelizaveta Surnacheva is a journalist at Kommersant. In the last six months, Russian officials, oligarchs, CEOs of state-owned businesses, parliamentary deputies, and regional governors have found themselves in a new world, with new missions, new economic circumstances, and new mechanisms for decision-making. Not many are comfortable with it, but enough of them […]

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Putin’s Glamour Deemed Threat to National Security

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 17, 2014) In 2009, during his stint as prime minister, President Vladimir Putin flirted with being a columnist at literary magazine Russky Pioner, famous for its ostentatious parties. A vehicle for the literary ambition of the Russian elite, its contributors have also included presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and Alfa Group chairman […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Limits Foreign Capital’s Participation in Russian Media: Government

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law reducing the possible share of foreign stockholders in the Russian media to 20 percent, says the corresponding document published on the Russian government’s official legal information web portal Wednesday. “Unless otherwise stipulated by an international treaty … a Russian legal entity with a foreign participation share […]

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Interfax: Chief of staff says businessman’s arrest damaging Russia’s investment climate

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – October 15, 2014) Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov has said that the house arrest of billionaire businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov is damaging Russia’s investment climate. In an interview with popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which was quoted by Interfax news agency, Ivanov said that “I agree, this [the arrest of Yevtushenkov] is having a bad influence of the […]

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Russia vows to reduce hazardous emissions to 70-75% of 1990 levels by 2030

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Galiya Ibragimova, RBTH – October 14, 2014) Russia has announced its intention to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 70-75 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. However, specialists interviewed by RBTH are divided on whether the plans are realistic, with some arguing that the pledge is incompatible with Russia’s energy strategy through 2035. […]

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Russia signs raft of deals with China

China Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) Russia and China signed a raft of 40 agreements encompassing trade, energy, finance and technology, following a meeting between Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, on October 14 in Moscow. The agreements demonstrate how Russia is looking for other options, after sanctions imposed on Russia in […]

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Kiev Stores Ordered to Stamp Russian Products With Special Markings

Maidan Square file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 10, 2014) Kiev’s municipal council has ordered stores in the capital to label Russian-imported goods with additional markings to warn consumers they could be supporting the “aggressor” by buying the products, media reports said. According to the ruling approved by the city’s legislature, Russian made-goods will also have to be displayed on separate shelves […]

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Will Western Sanctions Stop Russia’s Arctic Oil Expansion?

arctic-energy

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 9, 2014) Igor Sechin, the most influential figure in Russia’s energy industry, announced last week that a new oil field discovered in the Arctic was to be christened “Pobeda” – the Russian word for victory. Speaking to reporters from a blustery drilling platform, the Kremlin heavyweight, who also heads state-owned oil […]

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Russian companies’ failures to adopt effective sanctions policies worsen sanctions’ impact

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions, Part 2. Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 2. Russian companies’ failures to adopt effective sanctions policies worsen sanctions’ impact. Russian companies failed to address key aspects of sanctions: 1. Large law firm incentives are against giving operationally useful sanctions advice and 2. Nature and enforcement of sanctions differ from traditional law. Transacting with […]

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Putin Clans Gridlocked Over Arrest as Sanctions Bite

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Irina Reznik, Evgenia Pismennaya and Ilya Arkhipov – October 5, 2014) Russia’s wheels of power are grinding to a halt. That’s the assessment of five officials close to President Vladimir Putin, who say that a struggle at the heart of his inner circle is slowing decision making as sanctions squeeze the economy. With Putin focused on […]

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The problem with Russia’s investment story is there isn’t one

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris – Moscow, October 2, 2014) Leading Russian investment bank VTB Capital held a slimmed-down version of their annual investment conference on October 1-2. The event, “Russia Calling! 6th Annual VTB Capital Investment Forum” at the World Trade Center Moscow didn’t look cut down from the point of view of the number of […]

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Interfax: Expansion of Russian cooperation in China not end of relations with Europe – Putin

China Map

MOSCOW. Oct 2 (Interfax) – Russia has no intention of ending its relations with its traditional partners, including Europe, and expansion of cooperation with China is a global trend, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Russia is also thinking about expansion of cooperation with China, and it didn’t begin thinking about it yesterday or due to some sanctions or political restrictions. […]

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Russia Is Running Out of Forest

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – October 1, 2014) It seems unfeasible that Russia, which holds a fifth of the planet’s forests, could run out of wood. And yet it is happening, at least with commercially usable forests, environmental analysts say. The Russian logging industry will face lack of harvestable timber in 10 to 20 years, a short […]

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Life After Putin: Russia Needs to Be Rebuilt From Scratch

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – September 30, 2014) This story begins a series of analytical articles and editorials in The Moscow Times about Russia’s long-term strategic prospects. It is strange to recall in 2014 that back at the beginning of his rule, President Vladimir Putin was hailed as a reformer. His main agenda during his first term in the […]

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Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 From: Paul Backer <contact@skalalaw.com> Subject: Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies Part 1. Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies. Skala Law client update. Sanctions’ impact will worsen through 2015. Failing to understand sanctions’ purpose and enforcement materially and avoidably damages listed and unlisted entities. Lack of a sanctions policy renders entities noncompetitive in tenders and […]

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15 Global Firms Hit by Russia’s Law Limiting Foreign Ownership of Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s law limiting foreign ownership of media in Russia to 20 percent will overturn the country’s media scene. Foreign companies have been at the forefront of developing media in Russia since the early 1990s. They own stakes in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and television stations. Under the law passed by Russia’s parliament […]

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Curbs on Foreign Ownership Will Gut Russia’s Media

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – September 28, 2014) An era in Russian media ended Friday as parliament passed a law limiting foreign ownership in domestic media assets at 20 percent, hitting some of the world’s largest media companies and turning back the clock on an industry that has thrived on foreign brands and capital. Since the draft […]

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Interfax: Sanctions against Russia already affecting production of tight reserves, could impact shelf

Oil Worker file photo

KHANTY-MANSIISK. Sept 10 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed by the EU and U.S. against Russia are already affecting the production of tight reserves, Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi said at a briefing in Khanty-Mansiisk. “The sanctions, first due to technology, have not yet impacted [the country’s economy], but are already affecting the production of tight reserves. As a rule, […]

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Interfax: State obligation is to defend business from illegitimate actions of foreign countries, companies – Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

GORKI. Sept 9 (Interfax) – The state will continue to provide support to Russian business amid the Western sanctions, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during a meeting with NOVATEK (MOEX: NVTK) CEO Leonid Mikhelson. “You can have no doubt that in the face of such unfair actions the state has always supported and will support Russian business,” Medvedev said. […]

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