TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin made a working trip to Chelyabinsk Region

File Photo of Russian MI-26 Helicopter in Afghanistan with MI-17 Helicopter In Background

(Kremlin.ru – December 5, 2016) The President toured the Makeyev State Rocket Centre in Miass, where he held a meeting on the centre’s activity. Vladimir Putin took part in the launch of a new production line at the Eterno Plant in Chelyabinsk, which produces advanced components for pipe systems using nanotechnology. The Eterno Plant is a joint project of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Continue the Unfinished Business of Integrating Russia into the Global Economy. Renewed economic interaction would increase the West’s influence, not lessen it” – The National Interest/Carnegie Corporation/J. Andrew Spindler

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump has an unusual opportunity … to improve the tone of U.S.-Russian relations, currently at one of their lowest ebbs …. The positive possibilities in the short run are substantial …. the potential for a U.S.-Russian collaboration in the Middle East, particularly with regard to defeating ISIS and developing a peace plan for Syria. … there are many other […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Last chance? Putin vows – again – to bring economic reform to Russia. In his state of the union speech Thursday, Putin said he would wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore its global reputation. But his window may be closing.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

… pledging … deep domestic reforms to wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore the country’s global reputation … Putin may be putting [his] powers to the test. … analysts say this may be the last chance to start delivering. … Putin … clearly realizes that … approval ratings depend heavily on … public […]

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Russia Is Finally Making Headway In Its Pivot East

Asia Map

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – November 22, 2016) Russia’s long planned pivot east found itself unexpectedly wrong-footed in early 2014, following the Crimean referendum and subsequent western rebuke. The global collapse of oil prices – and that of the ruble – later that same year further eroded Russia’s leverage in Asia. Fast forward to the present and we’ve seen substantially […]

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Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

File Photo of Ikea Store with Russian Language Facade and Shopping Carts

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 22, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/bouncing-back-putin-s-shrunken-economy-lures-foreign-investors] Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze. Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Fate of Russia’s Liberals” – Stratfor

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

Russia’s economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country’s more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia – and arguably, since the 1950s – Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained … on charges of bribery and extortion. … Russian authorities [said] Ulyukayev received $2 […]

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The Loyalty of Fear; Putin sends a message to the elite with the arrest of Russia’s economic development minister

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Mikhail Fishman – November 16, 2016) It was an awkward, dramatic national moment for Russia: a bonafide minister of the federal government standing in court as the defendant, facing corruption charges and promising his cooperation to prosecutors, pleading to be released on bail. The hearing ended slightly anticlimactically, with a decision to place […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Visit to Avtodizel plant (excerpt)

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

(Kremlin.ru – November 12, 2016) [DJ: For a better sense of real issues in Russia that concern Putin read the complete long transcript here: en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/53244] During his trip to Yaroslavl, Vladimir Putin visited the Avtodizel Yaroslavl Motor Plant, part of the GAZ Group, which produces goods under the YaMZ brand. The President saw the production process and met with the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “World Bank Improves Russia Economic Outlook, Sees 1.5 Percent GDP Growth in 2017” – Reuters

World Bank Building

… the World Bank said …. Russian gross domestic product will contract by 0.6 percent … oil prices are projected to recover to an average of $55 per barrel in 2017 [and] the Russian economy is expected to bottom out in the second half of this year. The World Bank sees it growing by 1.5 percent in 2017 and 1.7 […]

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Russia Supreme Court Proposes Ban on Pre-Trial Detention for Economic Crimes

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 3, 2016) The plenum of Russia’s Supreme Court has proposed banning the arrest of individuals accused of several varieties of economic crimes, the Prime news agency reported Thursday. According to the proposal, suspects can still be detained, but cannot be kept in pre-trial detention if they stand accused of several economic crimes: commercial fraud, […]

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The Beginning Of The End For Europe’s Natural Gas War

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – October 27, 2016) Russia’s Gazprom is on the verge of striking a deal with EU regulators to settle a half-decade old dispute over natural gas pricing, and the resolution could change the way Gazprom does business and lead to lower gas prices for much of Eastern Europe. The conflict began back in 2011 when EU […]

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Russia’s Oil Industry Is Making The Most Of A Weak Ruble; Record Oil Production and Capital Spending Supported by Favorable FX Rate

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – October 21, 2016) While Russian federal revenue from oil and natural gas production has declined significantly in response to low oil prices, oil and natural gas companies have actually increased investments or only seen modest declines, according to the EIA. In ruble terms, the Brent price has actually increased by 40 percent from 2010 levels, while decreasing in […]

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MEDVEDEV SAYS RUSSIA’S CURRENT SYSTEM OF BUSINESS OVERSIGHT INEFFECTIVE

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

Interfax: Daily Headline News for October 19, 2016 [excerpt re Medvedev] Control and oversight activity in Russia in its current form is not effective enough, and is corrupt and unmanageable, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. “It is clear that control and oversight activity in the form it currently exists causes very much criticism, and is considered to […]

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MEDVEDEV: ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN ON COMPANIES, INDIVIDUALS MUST BE REDUCED

Artist's Rendition of Pile of Papers Shaped Like Human, Wall of File Cabinets, Flying Pieces of Paper

Interfax: Daily Headline News for October 19, 2016 [excerpt re Medvedev] The administrative burden on companies and individuals arising from regulatory and supervisory actions must be reduced, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “The administrative burden on companies, enterprises and citizens must be reduced,” he said at a meeting of the presidential council on strategic development and priority projects. “A responsible […]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Today/RT: “Rosneft boss says no to output freeze or cut”

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

“The man in charge of Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft is skeptical about a global crude production freeze or cut, despite President Putin’s pledge to cooperate with OPEC.”

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Russia Must Deal With Catastophic Brain Drain; With brain drain, only leaders and those who leave are winners: the country is the big loser.

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yelena Mukhametshina – October 7, 2016) After suffering a major brain drain in the 1990s, Russia is once again witnessing a rise in emigration. But whereas people back then left the country because of the crumbling economy, now they are leaving even as the government attempts to diversify it, writes Committee for Civil Initiatives (CCI) […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The murder that killed free media in Russia; A decade after the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, news organisations increasingly avoid topics that could anger the Kremlin” – The Guardian (UK)/Shaun Walker

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

 … In the decade since [Anna] Politkovskaya’s death, the space for independent journalism in Russia has narrowed …. Since 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded 20 journalists’ killings, while Freedom House has counted 63 violent attacks on reporters. But for the most part, the threat of closure keeps publications in line and encourages self-censorship. … news sources have […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Eastern Economic Forum (excepts)

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – September 3, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum. This year, representatives of 35 countries applied to attend the forum. In total, delegations from 56 countries are taking part. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Park Geun-hye, Mr Shinzo Abe, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Vladivostok, to the second Eastern […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Businessman takes hostages in Moscow bank in desperate plea to Putin”

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

On Aug. 24, a bankrupt businessman took the staff and customers of a bank in downtown Moscow hostage in a bid to attract the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the plight of those in his position.

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Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Why is Russia postponing the privatization of its oil companies?”

Oil Well file photo

The Russian government has announced that it will postpone the privatization of state share packages in the Rosneft and Bashneft oil companies. Russian analysts believe that this is because the price being asked is not acceptable to buyers.

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Stealing a Peek at Russian Economic Uptick Before It Happens

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – August 11, 2016) Prone to false starts since a crisis peaked last year, Russia’s economy is riding momentum that has it on the cusp of exiting the longest recession in two decades. As business sentiment perks up, leading indicators from demand for electricity to rail cargoes and container transport show the pulse of […]

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Vladimir Putin Is His Economy’s Worst Enemy

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – July 27, 2016 – Editorial) Russian President Vladimir Putin urgently needs to revive his country’s economy. His greatest obstacle will be himself. While Americans argue about the extent of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election, Putin is battling a recession at home. To that end, he has recently focused on the ruble’s exchange rate: A […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of ASI Expert Council

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 21, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) Expert Council, which is marking its 5th anniversary. The President also visited an exhibition presenting projects that have received ASI support over various years, in particular, new developments in medicine, communications, transport, housing and utilities, agriculture, continued and vocational education, and […]

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Hybrid Business — The Risks In The Kremlin’s Weaponization Of The Economy

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Commentary: Mark Galeotti, Anna Arutunyan – July 20, 2016) Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence. Anna Arutunyan is a Moscow-based journalist and writer, author of The Putin Mystique. “How many divisions does the pope have?” Josef Stalin was meant to have […]

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Russia’s Consumers Still in Shock as They Cut Back on Food and Medicine

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – July 19, 2016) With stores from near the Arctic to the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, Magnit PJSC would be the first to know when the Russian consumer is back. Instead, the nation’s largest supermarket chain has just come across something it’s never seen. Billionaire Sergey Galitskiy’s retailer, which operates almost 13,000 outlets […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov

Boris Titov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2016) Boris Titov presented to the President the Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights annual report. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon Mr Titov. Have you prepared your report? Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: Yes, Mr President. I am ready to present what will be my third report since my appointment as Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights. […]

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Oil Must Go to $40 and Stay There to Buy Russia Some Reforms

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 18, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-17/oil-must-go-to-40-and-stay-there-to-buy-russia-reforms-at-last] At an oil price of $40 or below, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a flat income tax, built a sovereign wealth fund and delivered speeches to the Bundestag in German. When it was over $100, he fought two wars with neighbors and splashed over $40 […]

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Russian ‘Gun-For-Hire’ Rinat Akhmetshin Lurks In Shadows Of Washington’s Lobbying World

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – WASHINGTON – July 17, 2016) The hoots and jeers began the minute the movie ended and the lights went up on the seventh floor of the Newseum, a Washington museum dedicated to the free press. The film was a semifictionalized look at the story of Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who helped uncover […]

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NEWSWATCH: “An Unfinished Bridge, and Partnership, Between Russia and China” – New York Times

Asia Map

The New York Times covers Russo-Chinese relations and delays in Russia fulfilling its part of a joint arrangement to build an international bridge across the Amur River. … The bridge abruptly stops, hanging in the air high above the river just short of the Russian shore at Nizhneleninskoye …. The gap … left by Russia’s failure to build its own, […]

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Reluctantly, Russia Starts Sell-Off of Major State Companies

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobso – July 14, 2016) Back in April, President Vladimir Putin was asked at a press conference why he planned to sell state companies just when the market was at bottom. Putin’s reply was blunt: “We need the money.” Russia was, after all, in a bind. A deep recession and plunging oil prices meant […]

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Putin Peers Into Shadows Where 30 Million Toil on Fringes

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Ilya Arkhipov – July 13, 2016) Just about every other worker in Russia has gone missing. Uncounted by statisticians and invisible to tax collectors, a population the size of Texas — or about 30 million people — plies its trade in the nooks and crannies of what’s become known as the “garage economy.” There, […]

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Putin Isn’t About to Let Go of the Crown Jewels After Alrosa

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andrey Biryukov – July 12, 2016) Hatched in harsh economic times, Russia’s latest wave of privatization is off to a mixed start, and a sequel is by no means guaranteed. The sale of a 10.9 percent stake in Alrosa PJSC was the biggest divestment of a state asset since the government reduced its stake […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Prokhorov’s Onexim says not selling all Russian assets” – Reuters

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

Onexim Group, owned by tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, said on Monday a newspaper report suggesting it had decided to sell all its assets in Russia was inaccurate. * * * On Monday, Vedomosti newspaper had reported that Prokhorov was searching for buyers of all his assets in Russia, quoting multiple unnamed sources. Onexim owns stakes in aluminium giant Rusal, potash producer […]

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Billionaire Tycoon Prokhorov to Sell All Russian Assets

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 4, 2016) Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is to sell all of his Russian assets, the Vedomosti business daily reported Monday. Prokhorov’s ONEXIM investment group has various assets in mining, finance, energetics, development and the media. Its larger assets include a 20 percent stake at Russian company Uralkali, the world’s largest producer of potassium, and a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Alexei Repik, President of Delovaya Rossiya national public organisation

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kremlin.ru – June 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin discussed with Delovaya Rossiya President Alexei Repik the results of the union’s activity over the past 15 years and ways of improving the business climate in Russia. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Repik. This year marks 15 years since Delovaya Rossiya was founded. A great deal has been accomplished during […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rival Kremlin camps prepare for battle over economy” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Rival camps inside … Putin’s entourage are preparing to do battle … over whether the Russian state should keep its role as custodian of the economy. … the Kremlin presents a united front, especially in its stand-off with the West[;] in reality it is divided with Putin often having to act as umpire … On one side … is a […]

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RBTH: SPIEF 2016: Russia will attract only the best foreign technologies

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russia plans to set up a new presidential council to promote economic innovation, as business deals are unveiled. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 21, 2016) Participants in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) have signed agreements worth $15.8 billion, the executive secretary of its organizing committee, Anton Kobyakov, has announced. The official […]

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Putin Said to Weigh $11 Billion Rosneft Sale to China, India

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin is considering selling part of Russia’s corporate crown jewels to China and India as the president struggles to meet spending commitments before his possible re-election bid in less than two years. Russia has been seeking buyers for 19.5 percent of state oil champion Rosneft OJSC and […]

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Russian Oil Producers Care More About Rubles Than Barrels

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – June 16, 2016) For Russian oil companies, the value of the ruble matters more than the price of a barrel. While OPEC celebrates the rebound in crude, Rosneft OJSC and Lukoil PJSC must keep one eye on the stronger Russian currency. That’s because the ruble’s 12 percent gain this year against the dollar […]

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Putin’s Reliance on American Commerce Has Never Been Greater

File Photo of Boeing 747, adapted from image at navy.mil

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – June 15, 2016) U.S. becomes Russia’s No. 5 partner as trade war hits EU worse Boeing, Cargill, Yum! lead U.S. companies expanding in Russia President Vladimir Putin loves to reel off statistics, but here’s one he may not trumpet at his annual investment forum in St. Petersburg this week: Russia’s reliance […]

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Deconstructing Moscow’s Constructivist Legacy

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – June 9, 2016) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/deconstructing-moscows-constructivist-legacy/571579.html] When Moscow city deputy Alexandra Parushina asked the men in bulldozers if they had permission to tear down a 1920s housing estate in her constituency on June 6, security guards threw her to the ground. While they held her down, injuring her leg, the demolition began. […]

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Putin Is Growing Organic Power One T-34 Tank-Tomato at a Time; Backed by billionaires’ cash, Russian food exports are now worth more than Kalashnikovs and all other military hardware combined.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anatoly Medetsky, Matthew Campbell, Yuliya Fedorinova – June 7, 2016) [Photos and charts here bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-06-07/putin-is-growing-organic-power-one-t-34-tank-tomato-at-a-time] Deep in the Caucasus, downriver from Europe’s highest peak, North Korean women roam Soviet-era hothouses growing what tycoon Vladimir Evtushenkov is betting will be his next big bounty: the T-34 battle tomato. The plump hybrids, named for the fearsome tank that […]

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New Bill Forces Russian Companies to Disclose Owner Information

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 8, 2016) Russia’s State Duma has passed a new bill obliging companies to disclose information on their beneficiaries at the request of the authorities, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday. The bill was prepared as part of the country’s push to improve economic transparency and decrease the use of offshore holdings. Russian President Vladimir […]

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RBTH: Russian business repatriates money from offshore zones

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russian entrepreneurs have decided to bring their money back home from offshore havens. Statistics show that the largest amounts have returned to Russia from the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda. Additionally, $1 billion or more has entered Russia from such countries as Germany, France and the UK. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – […]

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Why is Russia’s biggest gas pipeline being built on an uncompetitive basis?

Gas Flame file photo

Contracts for laying the Power of Siberia pipeline from Russia to China are being dished out mainly without tenders and are often handed to close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Russian analysts deny that anything is amiss and insist this is related to Gazprom being afraid of not finishing them on time for its Chinese partner. (Russia Beyond […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Village Resists Privatization Effort Championed by Putin. Locals, activists and lawmakers rally to prevent sale of century-old state-owned dairy plant.” – Wall Street Journal

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

The Russian government’s privatization drive soured in a village called Milk. The dairy plant here that for more than a century has churned out Russia’s most-recognizable brand of butter was scheduled to be auctioned in mid-February, the latest target to raise cash for the budget. But after locals, activists and lawmakers held rallies and petitioned President Vladimir Putin and other […]

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