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Tag Archive for Business

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

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,

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consumers Stay Away From Moscow’s Malls as Sanctions Deepen Russia’s Slump

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 9, 2014) Nearly 25 percent fewer people visited Moscow’s malls in the week leading up the start of the school year than in the same period of 2013, a survey said, indicating that Western sanctions and an economic slowdown are hitting Russian consumer demand. A report by consumer market

Interfax: Rosstat affirms 0.8% Q2 Russian GDP growth estimate

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Sept 8 (Interfax) – The Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) has affirmed its preliminary estimate of 0.8% year-on-year GDP growth for the second quarter of 2014, the agency said. GDP was 17.697 trillion rubles in current prices in Q2. Rosstat published its preliminary estimate for Q2 in the middle of August. The Russian Economic

RIA Novosti: Economy Minister Confirms Russian Plans to Privatize 19.5% in Rosneft Oil Company in 2015

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government is to go ahead with plans to privatize a 19.5 percent stake in oil major Rosneft in 2015, likely in two stages, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Thursday. “The [government] plan is being upheld and preliminary operations have already begun. We are talking about

Million-Man Army of Programmers Won’t Free Russia From Western Software

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – August 20, 2014) Foreign software has become the latest target of Russian officials’ clamorous calls for self-sufficiency, with plans to swiftly replace all foreign imports and triple the number of Russian programmers heralding a crusade that analysts consider misguided and hopelessly optimistic. “We stand for complete sovereignty

Sanctions Would Ground Russia’s Major Airlines

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – August 7, 2014) The grounding this week of Russia’s low-cost airline, Dobrolyot, by European Union sanctions has exposed the vulnerability of Russia’s airline industry, which relies on aircraft leased from abroad that can be withdrawn at the push of a pen in Brussels or Washington. Russian airlines

Business Mood Brightens, But Won’t Save Russian Economy, Study Finds

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – July 16, 2014) Economic sentiment among Russian businesses improved in the second quarter, but the effect was largely seasonal and shot through with troubling long-term trends, a study published by the Higher School of Economics found. As the mood in retail and the services industry brightened –

McDonald’s to Open for First Time in 30 Russian Cities

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 2, 2014) McDonald’s plans to open 70 restaurants in 30 Russian cities by the end of this year, significantly expanding its reach into cities that were never home to the fast food empire before, McDonald’s development director in Russia told ITAR-Tass on Tuesday. “We’ll have restaurants in Siberia, in the

Follow the Money to Putin Inc. to See Why U.S. Struggles With Russia

treasury-bldg-631

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Alan Katz, Jesse Drucker, Irina Reznik – June 25, 2014) To see why U.S. economic sanctions against Russia are likely to have limited impact, follow the spending of a small Delaware-incorporated, Nasdaq-traded television company named CTC Media Inc. (CTCM) While CTC Media has a market capitalization of just $1.7 billion, it’s

U.S. Business Groups to Run Ads Attacking Fresh Russia Sanctions

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 26, 2014) Two main business lobbies in the U.S. plan to publicly challenge White House foreign policy regarding Russia by taking out advertisements in the nation’s top three newspapers to warn that imposing additional sanctions against Moscow will only harm U.S interests. The U.S. Chamber of

Russia has largest share of female top managers

Empty Boardroom

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – June 20, 2014) In Soviet times you knew when something was about to be fixed when the ladies with the white scarves on the heads turned up with their toolboxes and buckets. One of the real successes of communism was to elevate the role of women in the work

RIA Novosti: Russia to Contest West’s Unilateral Economic Sanctions in WTO

WTO Logo

ST. PETERSBURG, June 20 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow intends to refer the issue of unilateral economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the West to the World Trade Organization, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday. “When the United States imposed on Russia sanctions that create negative consequences for foreign trade, we decided to challenge them

Corporate bondholders fret as oligarchs suffer under Ukraine crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nick Kochan in London – June 20,2014) Ukraine’s security crisis is hitting bond investors in some of the country’s largest companies. A combination of the deteriorating economic situation, falling currency, increased Russian import duties on Ukrainian goods and rising gas prices has meant big local firms are struggling to

RIA Novosti: Legal Disputes Between Russia, Ukraine Better Than Force – Medvedev

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

ST. PETERSBURG, June 20 (RIA Novosti) – Many legal disputes are expected to arise between Russian and Ukrainian companies, but arbitration processes are better than tyranny and the use of force, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during a speech at the International Legal Forum in St. Petersburg Friday. “In the near future, there will

INTERVIEW: Andrei Sharonov – sweating the chernovniki

Skolkovo File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 17 2014) Summer has finally come to Moscow and the main hall in the Red October chocolate factory that sits on the River Moskva across from the Kremlin is buzzing with young workers flapping about in flip-flops or hunkered over computers writing code.

Russian opposition media unite to go public

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, special to RBTH – June 12, 2014) Independent news organizations including oppositional television channel Dozhd TV and the Slon and Bolshoi Gorod media outlets are to be brought into one media group and floated on the Moscow stock market. The IPO will be the first by

Russian Millionaires Up By 18.5 Percent, Report Shows

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 10, 2014) The number of households whose wealth exceeds $1 million in Russia has grown by 18,5 percent in 2013, reaching 213,000 last year, the Boston Consulting Group said in a report. Russia thereby maintained the position it held in 2012, ranking 13th worldwide in terms of the number

Five Insider Stories From Russia’s Fledgling Start-Up Market

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – June 9, 2014) Start-ups, business angels and venture funds – these terms have become part of the Russian language, although just a few years back they were almost completely absent from the local dialect. High-tech business in Russia is expanding rapidly and being part of it is

Death Be Not Proud – Be Profitable: Moscow’s Funeral Business

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn- June 5, 2014) Your beloved mother has died, leaving you in a state of grief just short of catatonic. Who do you call? Many Muscovites will tell you it was not really who you call that matters – it was who the police, the dispatcher or the medics

Sechin Sues Forbes for ‘Highest-Paid Executive’ Rating

Igor Sechin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 28, 2014) Rosneft head Igor Sechin has filed a lawsuit against journalists and publishers of the Russian edition of Forbes and Komsomolskaya Pravda for an article he says threatens to damage his business reputation. The lawsuit, filed on May 15, demands that the journalists and publishers behind a November

RIA Novosti: Nestle, Mars Could Buy Poroshenko’s Candy Company for $1.5 Bln

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) – Food giants Mars and Nestle have been tipped as favorites to buy Ukraine’s leading chocolate firm Roshen, currently owned by likely president-elect Petro Poroshenko, for as much as $1.5 billion. The candy-maker-turned-politician earlier vowed to sell his biggest asset if elected president, and summoned investment advisors and bankers to

Interfax: Visa, MasterCard to continue operating in Russia – Siluanov

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

(Interfax – May 20, 2014) The payment systems Visa and MasterCard will continue operating in Russia, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Interfax on Tuesday. “We can’t abandon these systems since over 90 percent of those who use payment systems work with them,” he said. He did not say how the problem would be resolved with

Foreign affair: Which brands have captured the hearts of Russians?

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – May 9, 2014) For the majority of Russian citizens, international brands are a must: As far as cars are concerned they prefer the Korean Hyundai or KIA, but when it comes to phones they opt for Samsung. Muscovites, unlike the rest of Russia, prefer Apple and Volkswagen products.

U.S. CEOs Shun St. Petersburg Forum But Send Their Deputies

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – May 8, 2014) Despite the White House’s calls for major firms to boycott the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian officials said Wednesday that the forum would go on as U.S. CEOs bow out but send their deputies. The most prominent international economic meeting in Russia, chaired

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Counting the cost: How much did Russia spend and earn in Sochi?

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Karnaukh, special to RBTH – May 2, 2014) The 2014 Winter Olympics have already gone down in history as the most expensive Olympics ever, but now they promise to set another record in terms of profits generated by the organizers. The funds from sponsors alone will bring

Exxon’s $900 Billion Arctic Prize at Risk After Ukraine

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – April 29, 2014) Exxon Mobil (XOM) Corp.’s dream of drilling in the Russian Arctic may risk running aground on the politics of Ukraine. The company plans to start drilling in August in the Arctic’s remote Kara Sea — the centerpiece of Exxon’s global alliance with Russian state-controlled OAO

Yandex reacts to Putin comments about foreign influence as share price falls

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vsevolod Pulya, RBTH – April 28, 2014) The Russian search engine was actually registered in the Netherlands and received its first investments from foreign investors. Nevertheless, it believes that this is “common practice for any internet startup.” Russian search engine Yandex has responded to comments by Russian President

RIA Novosti: Western Sanctions Unlikely to Damage Business Relations

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, April 29 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova – Western sanctions against Moscow are unlikely to disrupt existing business ties with Russia, Renaissance Capital economist Oleg Kouzmin told RIA Novosti. “We do not think that sanctions would damage the existing business relations with Russia and its trading partners,” Kouzmin said. “Probably they may become an additional

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