Kremlin Won’t Assume Some WTO Commitments

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 17, 2013) Russia will not have to assume many of the commitments to liberalize trade that are approved during the Doha round of World Trade Organization talks, the government’s top trade negotiator said Wednesday, Interfax reported. “Russia would like to see [the Doha round] wrap up as quickly as possible if only for pragmatic […]

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Ulyukayev Considers $10Bln Quarterly Flight ‘Acceptable’

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – January 17, 2013) A capital outflow of up to $10 billion every three months would be an acceptable level under current macroeconomic conditions, a leading figure at the Central Bank said. Russia saw $56.8 billion leave the country in 2012, stoking fears that the Kremlin is struggling to control capital flight and […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting on economic issues

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – January 16, 2013) The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin held a meeting on economic issues to discuss the financial results for 2012 and measures to develop Russia’s economy. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues. We will discuss the results for 2012 today and look at additional measures to ensure economic growth. The situation in the global economy […]

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Medvedev Wants Economy to Grow 5% Annually

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – January 17, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday urged the Cabinet to ensure stable economic growth of at least 5 percent a year in the near future, a goal some officials said might require changes to current budget policy. The major goal for the country’s government is “to ensure transition to […]

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Shuvalov Firm on Tax Policy

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 16, 2013) First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Wednesday that the government would not raise taxes for business before 2018, provided that events of a “global” scale do not influence the situation. In an interview published in Kommersant on Wednesday, Shuvalov said that the government finalized its midterm tax strategy last year. “Up […]

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Russia Should Abandon Sectoral Industry Aid – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia should abandon its policy of providing state support to specific sectors of the economy and start supporting domestic firms integrating into world production chains, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. “It is necessary to go beyond the sectoral approach, which has been established and is frequently practiced in our country. The focus […]

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Putin relatively satisfied with Russian economic performance in 2012

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Jan 16 (Interfax) – Russia’s economic performance was “relatively satisfactory” in 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting dedicated to economic affairs at the Kremlin. “The economic results of the year have not yet been conclusively summed up, but the preliminary figures look relatively satisfactory. According to the Economic Development Ministry’s estimates, GDP growth for January-November of […]

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Year 2012 showed that Russia has learned to deal with problems – Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – January 16, 2013) Year 2012 was calm politically and good economically, despite the difficult State Duma and presidential elections, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in an interview published in the Wednesday edition of Kommersant. “To me, as a government official, our condition at the end of 2012 is an additional confirmation that the country has learned […]

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Russia Says World Is Nearing Currency War as Europe Joins

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com –  Simon Kennedy & Scott Rose – January 16, 2013) The world is on the brink of a fresh “currency war,” Russia warned, as European policy makers joined Japan in bemoaning the economic cost of rising exchange rates. “Japan is weakening the yen and other countries may follow,” Alexei Ulyukayev, first deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, […]

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Russia might not commit to liberalizing trade at Doha WTO talks – Medvedkov

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(Interfax – January 16, 2013) Russia, as a country that only recently joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), might not assume many of the commitments to liberalize trade that are approved during the Doha round of talks, Maxim Medvedkov, head of trade negotiations at the Russian Economic Development Ministry, told Interfax. “Russia would like to see [the Doha round] wrap […]

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Lavrov Talks Customs Union With Ukraine

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 15, 2013) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his newly appointed Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kozhara, had a series of meetings on Sunday and Monday to underline the importance of fostering strategic ties between the two countries, with Ukraine’s potential accession to the Russia-dominated Customs Union a central topic. Relations have been strained […]

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Gaidar Forum returns with stellar line-up

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – January 15, 2013) The fourth annual Gaidar Forum kicks off at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and State Administration on Wednesday, bringing together Russian and international economic leaders to discuss key policy issues around the theme of “Russia and the World: The Challenges of Integration.” The forum grew out of […]

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It’s a jungle out there

File Photo of Moscow Apartment Building

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – January 14, 2013) When asked how she became qualified to work as a real estate agent, Emma became defensive. “I don’t want to tell you,” she told The Moscow News. “I’m a realtor now, and that’s all you need to know.” Emma was the broker that Elliott Estebo, an expat English teacher, […]

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An investment wonderland? Reality checks

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(www.opendemocracy.net – Pavel Usanov – January 11, 2013) Pavel Usanov is head of the Hayek Institute for Economy and Law in St. Petersburg and Reader at the Higher School of Economics. Since the collapse of the USSR investors have flocked to Russia, tempted by the high rates of return and the Alice in Wonderland atmosphere in Moscow, where everything seems […]

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Unexpected peace turns Norilsk Nickel into milking cow: Year in Review

Nickel Operation file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The multi-part drama known as the corporate dispute at Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel (RTS: GMKN) came to a conclusion at the end of 2012 with an unexpected twist. The distribution of forces that had emerged at Norilsk Nickel since the end of 2008 seemed fairly stable and safe. Vladimir Potanin’s Interros and Norilsk Nickel’s […]

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China-Russia Trade Up 11% to $88 Bln in 2012

China Map

BEIJING, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­China-Russia trade grew 11.2 percent in 2012 from the previous year to $88.16 billion, the Chinese General Customs Administration reported on Thursday. Trade with the European Union, China’s largest trading partner, declined by 3.7 percent last year to $546.04 billion while trade with the United States, China’s second-largest trading partner, grew by 8.5 percent to […]

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Russian stock market shows modest results in 2012: Year in Review

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The Russian stock market gave investors hopes for good profits early on in 2012 but ended up at the rear of global financial flows demonstrating rather modest results. The overall global situation was also certainly far from ideal, but, despite all the European debt troubles, the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. presidential elections and the fiscal […]

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People should be allowed to make economic decisions – Russian church

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – Officials and businessmen need to win people’s confidence back, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the synodal department on liaison between the church and society, said. “Many people now feel alienation from decisions made in the economic sphere. Decisions are made by a limited circle of people. Our president has called the privatization unfair. This […]

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Russia’s Economy Still ‘Mostly Unfree’ – Index

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s economy is among the least free in the world, according to an index published on Thursday. Russia took 139th position out of 177 countries on the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Heritage Foundation think tank and the Wall Street Journal. The showing represented a slight improvement from 2012 for Russia, […]

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Whatever happened to Russia’s economic miracle?

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(Dmitry Travin – www.opendemocracy.net – January 7, 2013) Dmitry Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies. The first eight years of the last decade were incredibly successful for Russia’s economy, but the crisis of 2008 hit hard and growth remains decidedly sluggish. Dmitry Travin wonders whether the country’s economy will ever be […]

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Russia Takes Pause After Incredible Year of Discoveries and Disappointments

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 1 – Pavel K. Baev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – January 7, 2013) Early January is a period of partying and hibernation in Russia. Yet, this pause also provides an opportunity to reflect on the incredible ups and downs of the past year. Designated by the Kremlin as a year of return to […]

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Electricity sector between a rock and a hard place: Year in Review

Electrical Yard file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – Russia’s electricity sector in 2012 became a kind of blanket that was pulled in opposite directions by two opposing forces, which were personified by the government’s former and current tsars of the sector, Igor Sechin and Arkady Dvorkovich. They pulled on two, very large, corners – RusHydro and the combination of Federal Grid Company (FGC) […]

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Russian Consumer-Led Expansion to Slow in 2013, BNP Says

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose – January 9, 2013) Russian consumer spending will continue to carry economic growth this year even as slower increases in incomes and borrowing damp household demand, according to BNP Paribas SA. “We see private consumption remaining the primary driver of GDP growth in 2013 and beyond,” Julia Tsepliaeva and Kirill Mavrin, economists at BNP […]

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Housing Problems Bother Russians Most – Poll

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) ­ Most Russians consider the critical situation in the housing and utilities sector, inflation and low living standards and corruption as the most pressing problems in the country, a new poll revealed on Wednesday. The majority of respondents, 58 percent, said housing and utilities problems were their main concerns, according to the VTsIOM state pollster. […]

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2012 in Review: Russia Turns in on Itself

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Voice of America – Russian Service Crossfire – Donald N. Jensen – January 3, 2013) Russian state has struggled unsuccessfully since 1991 to reconcile ­three disparate, somewhat contradictory sources of legitimacy.  It portrays itself as democratic, but the trashing of the 1990s by the Putin regime deprives the current system of a founding myth.  During the Putin era there have […]

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Experts predict slowdown, stagnation for Russian economy in 2013

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Moscow, 29 December) According to economic experts interviewed by Interfax news agency, the lack of new economic ideas and structural reforms will impede Russia’s economic growth in 2013. The following is excerpt from report by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax. Subheadings as published. The ending year has shown that the old drivers of growth are no longer working, […]

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NEWSLINK: Rich Russians Also Lament New Tax Hikes

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

(Rich Russians Also Lament New Tax Hikes – Forbes – Kenneth Rapoza – January 3, 2013 – click here for full article) Forbes covers Russian tax hikes on the wealthy, largely impacting individuals, sole proprietors and with high-end luxury items such as homes, cars, boats, airplanes and helicopters: Not only rich one percenters in the U.S. are going to see […]

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Stability attracts investors, artists – Gref on Russian passport of Depardieu

Gérard Depardieu file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 4 (Interfax) – Political, economic and financial stability attracts investors and artists, Sberbank CEO German Gref told Interfax on Friday, speaking of Russian citizenship conferred to French actor Gerard Depardieu. “The Depardieu situation shows that financial, economic and political stability is frequently a key factor in the choice of the country by investors and artists. I think people […]

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NEWSLINK: A revolution in space but calmer streets at home; Pundits predict a loss of momentum for the protest movement at home and see little scope for improvement in relations with the West

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(A revolution in space but calmer streets at home; Pundits predict a loss of momentum for the protest movement at home and see little scope for improvement in relations with the West – Russia Beyond the Headlines – Artem Zagorodnov – January 4, 2013 – click here for google cache version of article) Russia Beyond the Headlines takes a look […]

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Lithuanian Speaker Gedvilas Rebuts Clinton on Russia, Radio Says

File Photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton with Nazarbayev

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Bryan Bradley – January 4, 2013) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s opposition to Russia’s growing economic might in Europe wasn’t practical, Vydas Gedvilas, the head of Lithuania’s new parliament, said in an interview with Russian radio. The international influence of Russian businesses is an economic reality that European countries must separate from politics and deal […]

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Russian diplomat sees possible ‘political risks’ in OECD entry talks

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(Interfax – January 2, 2013) Moscow does not rule out negotiations on Russia’s entry to the OECD may be accompanied by “political risks” linked to the case of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergey Magnitskiy’s death, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s economic cooperation department Aleksandr Gorban said, as reported by Interfax on 2 January. “These concerns are fair. There are […]

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NEWSLINK: You’re a Mean One, Mr. Putin; Was 2012 the year Russia’s president finally lost it? – Anders Åslund

Vladimir Putin file photo

[Foreign Policy – Anders Åslund – December 28, 2012 – http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/28/Putin_orphans_Russia_crackdown] Anders Åslund examines the state of Russian politics, characterizing it as marked by repression, anger and a realization of a need for change but lacking a grasp of effective alternatives other than personal flight: … I have not found the mood in the Russian capital so depressed since the […]

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Greediness prevents Russian businesses from gaining foothold on foreign markets – diplomat

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

MOSCOW. Jan 1 (Interfax) – Greediness often prevents Russian businesses from gaining a foothold on foreign markets, says Alexander Gorban, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s economic cooperation department. “I would like to mention one significant difference between Russian and Western businesses: it is their desire to have a high profit margin,” Gorban said in an interview with Interfax. […]

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YEAR IN REVIEW: Cold war – state and private companies lock horns over Arctic shelf

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW. Dec 31 (Interfax) – The standoff between state and private oil companies over access to Russia’s continental shelf over the past year recalled the cold war of the early 1980s. It was also a combination of clashing ideologies and ambitions, coalitions of allies, war on the periphery, scare tactics, a search for compromises and absurdity. As in the cold […]

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Russians Anticipate Higher Wages, Higher Prices in 2013

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, January 1 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russians can expect to see their real wages rise in 2013, but along with that will come higher utilities tariffs, according to Economic Development Ministry forecasts. Take-home pay is set to rise 3.7 percent in 2013, the ministry forecasts, and the minimum wage is also expected to rise, although it will still lag significantly […]

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Poor State of Housing Services Could Be Next Rallying Point

File Photo of Water Facet with Drop of Water Coming Out

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – December 27, 2012) Calls for honest elections and President Vladimir Putin’s removal might attract the urban middle class to rallies, but it is rusty pipes and the poor state of the utilities sector that might persuade thousands of disgruntled citizens of all classes to march in the streets. The possibility that higher […]

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Putin: Capital Outflow Is Russian Business Expansion Abroad

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Officially registered capital outflow from Russia frequently reflects Russian business investment abroad, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. “As for capital outflow, this process is not viewed as simplistically as is frequently talked about. Capital outflow in our conditions does not mean direct capital flight,” he said. A substantial part of this capital is […]

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Governors should be responsible for quality of business climate in regions – Putin

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Dec 27 (Interfax) – The heads of Russian regions ought to bear a political responsibility for their territories, President Vladimir Putin said. “Governors in the regions should bear a political responsibility for the quality of the business climate there. It is a test of his [governor’s] management skills,” Putin said at a State Council session on Thursday. “As for […]

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Putin Urges Regional Investment Roadmaps to Boost Economy

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian regions should prepare regional investment roadmaps with clear-cut goals to attract investors and boost the county’s flagging economy, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. Putin made the statement at a meeting with Russian governors to discuss how to make the regions more appealing as investment destinations. Russia’s regions should demonstrate their potential to […]

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Medvedev Tackles Stimulus as Economy Slows

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will chair a meeting on Wednesday on how best to tackle Russia’s slowing economic growth. “This year, Russia has seen falling growth in the major macroeconomic indices ­ gross domestic product, industrial output, and fixed capital investment,” the government press office said in a statement. Russia’s Economics Ministry has cut […]

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Russians have more confidence in authorities’ ability to make their life better – poll

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax – December 20, 2012) The approval ratings of Russian leaders grew in December after a minor decline in November, Levada Center told Interfax on Thursday. It held a nation-wide poll on Dec. 14-17. The approval rating of President Vladimir Putin stood at 65 percent in December, as against 63 percent in November and 68 percent in September, the sociologists […]

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Russian government to monitor business climate quarterly

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) – The Russian government will monitor the implementation of roadmaps to improve the country’s business climate every quarter, Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov said Thursday at a government session. Five roadmaps were approved and for three of them, including on customs administration, on connection to energy infrastructure and on administration in the construction sector, the deadlines […]

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OUTLOOK 2013: Confused picture for Russia (Part 1)

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 22, 2012 – click here to see original article with charts) Overview The world and Russia both passed through the trough of the global crisis in 2012, say investment banks in Moscow, and the question for 2013 is: if the upswing starts, how fast will it go? Going into […]

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Corruption customary for Russia but must be fought resolutely – Putin

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

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) – Corruption is customary for Russia but the government still has to combat it, President Vladimir Putin told a Thursday press conference. “Speaking of the anti-corruption fight; this is one of our problems and a customary one,” he said. Putin told reporters a historical anecdote: Peter the Great ordered Prosecutor General Pavel Yaguzhinsky to execute thieves […]

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State support for Russian agriculture to double despite WTO rules – minister

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Interfax – Moscow, 18 December) State support for agriculture will double as part of the new state programme covering the 2013-2020 period. “Whereas under the existing state programme (for 2008-2012 – Interfax) we have been giving agriculture R100bn (3.25bn dollars at the current rate of exchange) a year on average, in the period until 2020 the mean figure of federal […]

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Utilities to go up as industry on brink of catastrophe

File Photo of Water Facet with Drop of Water Coming Out

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – December 19, 2012) Russia’s Federal Tariff Services asked the government to raise tariffs for heating (by 11.5 percent instead of 9.5 percent proposed by the Economic Development Ministry) and water supply (11-13 percent instead of 5-6 percent). If their wish is granted, households will face a 15 percent increase in utility payments, […]

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Central Banker Blames Capital Flight on Investment Climate

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s unfavorable investment climate is a major factor behind huge capital flight from the country in recent years, Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev said on Wednesday. The Central Bank has carried out a comparative research of capital outflows in other countries to understand why capital is leaving Russia on such a large scale, the […]

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Capital Flight Calculation Open for Debate

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – Dec. 18, 2012) The real size of capital outflow last year was actually half as much as reported, and only reached about $40 billion, with the figure having no correlation to the investment climate, according to a survey released Monday. Some components considered by the Central Bank, such as cash leaving the […]

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Kudrin Slams Russia for ‘Creeping De-Privatization’

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin on Tuesday slammed the authorities for allowing “creeping de-privatization” of the economy despite the government’s commitment to sell state-run companies in order to raise their efficiency and lure much-needed foreign investment. “Despite the declared goals of privatization, we are witnessing creeping de-privatization,” Kudrin said at a press conference […]

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No new legal acts needed on privatization procedure – Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 14 (Interfax) – All of the procedures for privatizing federal property are enshrined at the presidential and governmental level; the legislative framework is adequate to what should happen with privatization in the coming years, and it does not need to be enhanced, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said. “All procedures are now fixed in federal law, […]

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