Putin Pipeline to Send 25% of Russia’s Oil Exports East

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky – March 7, 2013) Russia is on course to send an unprecedented 25 percent of its crude exports to eastern markets by 2015 as rising demand from China and other Asian consumers attracts sales at the expense of Europe. The country sent 1.1 million barrels a day east in February, or 22 percent of […]

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Putin Allies Climb Up Forbes List

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – March 4, 2013) The personal fortunes of businessmen rumored to enjoy close relationships with President Vladimir Putin jumped sharply in a new Forbes ranking Monday as Facebook investor Alisher Usmanov retained the title of Russia’s richest man. The wealth of Gennady Timchenko, owner of oil trader Gunvor and a large stakeholder in […]

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Russia Will React If U.S.-EU Trade Deal Harms, Fund Says

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Joseph de Weck – February 7, 2013) Russia may pivot to Asia should the proposed U.S.-European Union free-trade agreement hurt its businesses, said Kirill Dmitriev, the Chief Executive Officer of the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund. “Any attempt to use the liberal language of free trade to create something that excludes other countries and puts […]

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Russia Eyes Efficient Management of State-Controlled Assets

Empty Boardroom

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 39 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Sergei Blagov – March 1, 2013) The Russian government pledged to manage $3.3 trillion worth of its state-controlled assets more efficiently, including through the continued privatization of state-owned companies. However, the authorities have to prove that the latest privatization efforts could fare better than earlier attempts to […]

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China’s quiet splash in the post-Soviet space

File Photo fo Chinese Military Parade

(opendemocracy.net – Michael Cecire – February 25, 2013) Michael Hikari Cecire is a Black Sea-Eurasia regional analyst and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, where he contributes to the Project on Democratic Transitions. China’s steadily growing economic expansion throughout the world is a cause of concern for many governments. Eastern Europe and Central Eurasia are no longer […]

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Putin’s War on Three Fronts

Duma Session file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – www.imrussia.org – Tatiana Stanovaya – February 25, 2013 – click here for original posting of article) Two important tendencies have marked Russian political life during the past few months. The first is the Kremlin’s attempt to control officials’ and lawmakers’ foreign accounts and real estate holdings. The second is the growing activity of independent bloggers […]

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Blind Lawmaker Praises New Law Requiring Firms to Hire the Disabled

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – February 26, 2013) Oleg Smolin, a State Duma deputy with the Communist Party, praised a law that entered into force Monday and requires companies to hire disabled people or face fines of up to 10,000 rubles ($330). “We supported this legislation because it looks like a first step forward,” Smolin, who is […]

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US Fast Food Chains Banking on Russian Bellies

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

WASHINGTON, February 25 (By Sasha Horne for RIA Novosti) ­ The Kremlin has moved aggressively in recent months to stifle US influence on its domestic politics, but America’s fast-food footprint continues to grow across Russia’s nine time zones. Iconic US eatery McDonald’s has announced it could widen its presence from Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad to eastern Siberia in a […]

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Finance reform is key for Russia’s G20 presidency

G20 Logo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Alexander Yakovenko, special to RBTH – February 26, 2013) Alexander Yakovenko is Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom. He was previously Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The first meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under Russia’s G20 presidency was held in Moscow […]

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10% of Russian Companies Dodged Taxes in 2012 – Central Bank

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Every tenth Russian company making settlements through the Central Bank’s payment system dodged tax payments in 2012, according to data posted on the regulator’s website on Tuesday. Central Bank figures show 242,000 companies or about 11 percent of the 2.2 million businesses surveyed by the regulator made zero tax payments last year, despite conducting […]

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West Vastly Underestimating Size of Illegal Capital Flight from Russia, Moscow Expert Says

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 22, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-west-vastly.html) A report by the Washington Center for International Policy’s Global Financial Integrity program suggests that illegal capital flight from the Russian Federation over the last 17 years has been “stupifyingly” large, but in fact, a Russian economic analyst says, the report’s figures understate the size and implications […]

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Russian Unemployment Hit Record Low Last Year, Revised Data Show

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose & Olga Tanas – February 26, 2012) Russian unemployment fell to a record low of 5 percent in August and September last year, less than the initially reported 5.2 percent, revised data released by the Federal Statistics Service show. Last month’s reading of 6 percent was unchanged, the Moscow-based service said in a report […]

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Russian economy still has challenges to face, Medvedev says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – February 25, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that in order to develop the Russian economy it is necessary to increase the share of revenues from high-tech sectors and raise the standard of living in the country. Developing high-tech sectors “There are a number of challenges in the Russian economy to which we have not yet responded. First […]

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Kremlin Writes Off Most of Cuba’s $30Bln Debt

Map of Cuba and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – February 25, 2013) Russia has agreed to cancel most of Cuba’s $30 billion Soviet-era debt ­ the country’s biggest debt cancellation in years, according to an agreement reached during Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to the Caribbean island late last week. Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, who accompanied Medvedev during his […]

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Russia Faces Same Macro-Economic Problems USSR Did 40 Years Ago, Moscow Economist Says

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 21, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-russia-faces-same.html) The Russian economy today despite some very positive numbers over the last year suffers from four macro-economic problems that not only will be difficult to correct but also resemble those the Soviet leadership faced in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the rector of the Presidential Academy […]

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G20 tests Russia’s influence

G20 Logo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Alexey Dolinskiy, special to RBTH – February 21, 2013) In 2013, Russia will host the G-20 summit for the first time ever. Russia’s official presidency started in December 2012, but high-level meetings, culminating in the September 2013 St. Petersburg summit, are just beginning. Leading a global institution of the world’s most powerful countries […]

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IMF More Upbeat Than Medvedev on GDP Growth

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – February 21, 2013) The International Monetary Fund took an optimistic stance at Russia’s prospects Wednesday, saying that its economy could demonstrate a faster pace of growth over the next few years than the annual goal of 5 percent set by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. To attain those growth rates, the government should […]

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Far East development program to 2025 sent back for revisions – paper

File Photo of People Working on Car Amidst Siberian Woodlands and Meadows

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – The government program for the Social and Economic Development of the Far East and Baikal Region for the Period to 2025, drafted by the Far East Development Ministry, was discussed at a meeting held by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, business daily Vedomosti reported on Wednesday. “The document was not officially submitted to the […]

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Russia should stimulate supply, not demand – IMF

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Russia should not boost domestic demand more quickly than it increases the economy’s productive potential, Senior Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Russia Odd Per Brekk told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. On the basis of its latest research, the IMF has arrived at the conclusion that the Russian growth model of […]

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Russia’s long-term budget strategy to be based on development forecast to 2030 – PM

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Feb 19 (Interfax) – The long-term forecast for Russia’s social and economic development in the period to 2030 will be the foundation for the country’s long-term budget strategy, as well as federal and regional programs, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “Long-term budget strategy, federal and regional programs should be formed on the basis of this document, but we need […]

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G20 in Russia – will decision making accelerate by year’s end?

G20 Logo

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) – The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors have wrapped up their first meeting in Moscow, issuing quite an extensive document – a 26-point communique devoted to some of the main topics of the meeting, such as the global economy, financing of investment, government borrowing and sustainability of government debt, reform of the international financial […]

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Medvedev Cuts Red Tape to Boost Investment in Regions

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – February 19, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the government to find ways to reduce bureaucratic obstacles to regional investment amid a drive to boost regional economies. Medvedev has called for the Economic Development, Finance and Regional Development Ministries to present proposals to increase regional investment, RIA-Novosti reported Monday, citing the […]

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Future Depends on Next Five Years Reforms – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, February 19 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russian government’s work in the next five years will be crucial to improving the system of state governance and the business climate, essential to restoring investor confidence and the level of investment to modernize the economy, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday. Medvedev made his comments while unveiling a long-term budget […]

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Illicit capital flight over $780 billion since 1994

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Ben Aris, special to RBTH – Februray 19, 2013) The size of Russia’s shadow economy undermines recent efforts to improve the business climate. Russia has lost $782.5 billion in “illicit” capital flight over the last 18 years while $552.9 billion of illegal money has entered the country over the same period of time, […]

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G20 Leaders Pledge to Avoid Currency Wars

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – February 18, 2013) Leaders of the Group of 20 said Saturday that global economic growth remains weak despite government measures, but they agreed to avoid currency wars intended to stimulate the economy by devaluing their money. A meeting of the group’s finance ministers and central bankers was held in Moscow for the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Putin Meeting with G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

G20 Logo

(Kremlin.ru – February 15, 2013) The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. Russia is currently chairing the G20. The situation in global finances and the G20 countries’ actions to stimulate global economic growth and restore confidence in financial markets were the main subjects of discussion. The G20 […]

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OECD Accession Progressing Slowly but Surely

OECD Logo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – February 18, 2013) The head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development promised Friday that accession to the club of the world’s most economically advanced countries won’t take Russia as long as its entry into the World Trade Organization. “It will not take 17 years,” Angel Gurria told Finance Minister Anton […]

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Russia’s human capital gets its due in Krasnoyarsk

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – February 18, 2013) KRASNOYARSK – Sony opened an Internet cafe in Krasnoyarsk last week. The coffee was free, the Internet and the computer use were free, but there were two catches: first, it was only open three days, and second, you had to be registered for the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum to visit. […]

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Mobile, Internet costs added to Russian consumer basket

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – February 15, 2013) In a sign of the times, Russias statistics agency, Rosstat, is going to add the cost of hooking up to the internet and monthly spending on mobile phone bills to the consumer basket that is used to calculate inflation, amongst other things. The Russian economy is increasingly being driven by consumer […]

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Putin: Special services must not interfere in business disputes

File Photo of Partial FSB Headquarters Building Facade

MOSCOW. Feb 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that special services’ interference in business disputes be stopped. “I want to emphasize particularly that being dragged into commercial disputes, putting pressure on business, and creating various artificial obstacles and barriers to the implementation of investment projects is unacceptable,” Putin said at a Federal Security Service (FSB) expanded board […]

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Q&A: Venture Fund Chief Investing in Human Capital

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Rachel Nielsen – Februry 14, 2013) He has had long discussions with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, sits on the Skolkovo Foundation’s board of trustees with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and presidential aide Elvira Nabiullina and heads a company investing $1 billion of federal money into next-generation technology startups. These weighty responsibilities are the most recent […]

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Putin wants to end Soviet secrecy over mineral resources

Diamonds generic file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.com – February 14, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an end to the long Soviet-era habit of classifying geological data as a state secret. As part of the new look Russia-can-do Inc, that he hopes will bring in more investment, the president said the information on the size and location of the countrys natural […]

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Russia’s G20 presidency: debt, IMF and currency wars

G20 Summit Group Photo

(Interfax – February 13, 2013) In mid-February Russia starts hosting the first G20 meetings of its presidency. The most challenging economic problems the world is facing today are on the agenda. Russia, to which Mexico passed the G20 presidency in December, is beginning to host the first meetings of the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. They […]

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Post-Soviet Integration is Unstoppable – Putin

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) ­ Nothing can stop or slow down the reintegration of the post-Soviet space, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. “We’ve heard some recent nervous and outspoken remarks regarding integration in the post-Soviet space. Let’s put them down to the emotional rhetoric of these politicians,” Putin said at a meeting of FSB (Federal Security Service) […]

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Half of Russians believe authorities foster foreign investments – poll

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) – Healthcare, heavy industries and agriculture should be the primary areas of foreign investments, respondents told the Public Opinion Foundation in 100 towns and cities in 43 regions on February 2-3. Sixty-three percent of 1,500 respondents believe Russian authorities are interested in attracting foreign investments, 7% doubt that and 30% know nothing about investment plans of […]

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Russia Illicit Outflow Reached $212 Billion, Study Says

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose – February 12, 2013) Illicit capital outflows from Russia were as much as $211.5 billion between 1994 and 2011 as the underground economy moved funds abroad, according to Global Financial Integrity, a group that studies financial flows. Total illicit outflows were $9.99 billion in 2011, down from a peak of $41.6 billion in 2010, […]

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Putin Submits Bill Banning Officials From Holding Foreign Assets

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – February 13, 2013) President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday submitted a bill to the State Duma that seeks to ban government officials from holding overseas bank accounts or owning foreign-issued bonds and shares. The legislation, part of a raft of measures proposed by the president that ostensibly target corruption and foreign influence in […]

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Public Satisfied with State’s Efforts to Attract Foreign Investment

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – February 12, 2013) One-fifth of Russians believe that doing business in the country is easier for foreigners than for local businessmen, a survey has revealed. Twenty percent of participants in a poll by the Public Opinion Foundation believe that foreign investors working in Russia enjoy more benefits than their local peers, since […]

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Russia Resists Calls to Cut as Inflation Concerns Grow

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose & Olga Tanas – February 12, 2013) Russia’s central bank refrained from easing borrowing costs after inflation surged to a 15-month high, warning of the threat of faster price growth and defying government calls for lower rates to support the slowing economy. Bank Rossii held the refinancing rate at 8.25 percent for a fifth […]

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Russian Cabinet spars over oil profit investment

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Irina Granik, Moskovskiye Novosti – February 11, 2013) Old arguments have risen again in the government, after the publication of the “Five Years of Effectiveness” economic program earlier this month. The themes, as before, are how much money should remain in the state reserve in case of a crisis, and how to finance investment projects […]

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Reflecting on 2012: A year in Moscow as the U.S. Ambassador

Ambassador Michael McFaul file photo

(Ambassador Michael McFaul – Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – February 8, 2013 – Michael Mcfaul is the U.S. Ambassador in Russia) A year ago, I arrived in Moscow to represent my country as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. This is a good moment to reflect on the state of U.S.-Russian relations and my role in developing […]

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Russia hopes to bring offshore business back to Russia

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Feb 11 (Interfax) – The Russian Presidential Experts Directorate has compiled several measures aimed at de-offshorization of the Russian economy, the head of the directorate, Ksenia Yudaeva, said. As well as privatization inside Russia, reforming regulations for investing pension savings and easing the tax regime for investors, the measures suggested include the creation of a special arbitration court and […]

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Russia needs to promote its positive image abroad – Putin

Kremlin and St. Basil's

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Feb 11 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the need for “soft force” mechanisms in Russian Foreign Ministry operations. “Obviously, ‘classic’ diplomacy is, if not particularly out of date, then seriously transformed. You and your colleagues have to deal with the economy, developing business relations, supporting various economic projects and opening new promising markets,” Putin told Russian Foreign […]

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Russia-EU relations can’t stagnate because economies are closely related in global world – Russian envoy to EU

EU Map

(Interfax – February 8, 2013) Half of Russia’s trade turnover is with the EU, and EU countries are the main sources of foreign investment in the Russian economy despite the crisis, Russia’s permanent envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told reporters before Diplomats’ Day, which is marked on Feb. 10. “Russian-EU relations can’t stagnate because the Russian economy and the […]

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Russian economic growth rate to be not over 3%-3.5% in 2013 – Citi

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Feb 7 (Interfax) – The rate of Russian economic growth this year will not be any more than 3%-3.5%, Citi economist for Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States countries Natalya Novikova thinks. Novikova told the press on Thursday that Citi analysts are not expecting a significant decline in the price of oil this year, but the problem for the […]

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In Russia, Reasons To Fear Year Of The Snake

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RFE/RL – www.rferl.org – Daisy Sindelar – February 8, 2013) Many people enjoy the fireworks and celebrations that come with Chinese New Year. Not everyone, however, is enthusiastic about the upcoming Year of the Snake, which begins February 10. For one thing, the Year of the Snake is traditionally considered a less fortuitous cycle in the 12-year Chinese zodiac than […]

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Russian Government Assets Worth $3.3 Trillion

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) ­ The market value of Russia’s government owned assets is more than 50 percent higher than the country’s 2012 GDP, but the authorities say the property’s management is not always effective. The Russian government held a meeting Thursday to try to work out a concept in the sphere of managing federal property. Russia’s Federal Agency […]

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Russia’s Medvedev says all officials should quit state company boards

Empty Boardroom

(Interfax – February 7, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has said that public officials of all levels should leave the boards of directors of state companies, Russian privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 7 February. He also criticized the procedure for approving state company directors. “In future only professional directors should work on boards; state employees should leave,” Medvedev […]

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Veteran Expat Writes Employment Handbook for Novices

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – February 6, 2013) Bill Mayfield is utterly convinced Russia is ready to embrace more expat workers. He’s so sure it’s not hard for foreigners ­ even those who don’t speak a single word of Russian ­ to find work here that he’s written a book about it. “What are expats good at […]

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Minister Seeks Extra $1.4Bln in Farm Subsidies

Field of Grain file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – February 6, 2013) Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov on Tuesday asked for an additional $1.4 billion in farming subsidies this year, as grain prices are growing and WTO commitments are taking effect. Total federal spending on supporting farmers was initially projected at 158 billion rubles ($5.3 billion) this year. Following a less-than-spectacular crop […]

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