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McDonald’s Moscow Restaurant Reopens After 3-Month Shutdown

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

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

Russia Tightens Control Over Foreign Ownership of Print Media

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

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

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 Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures

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

Fears of a Russian credit crunch greatly exaggerated, say analysts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) On paper, Russian companies have huge foreign debts, and no way of refinancing them because sanctions effectively close Western capital markets to Russian borrowers. But with much of Russian corporate foreign debt in fact hidden equity investments from offshore zones, the figures seem much worse than

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

Interfax: Capital outflow from Russia might be lower than $100 bilion forecast in 2014 – minister

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Oct 9 (Interfax) – Capital outflows from Russia in 2014 could turn out to be less than the official forecast of $100 billion, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev believes. “We haven’t changed the forecast for this year. It is still $100 billion. Our accumulated outflow, I believe, is currently $78 billion for eight months

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,

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

Poroshenko talks reform with foreign investors

Petro Poroschenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 3, 2014) Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko reaffirmed to foreign investors that his goal is for Ukraine to ultimately join the European Union, and for this sweeping reforms are necessary. “This involves a significant number of reforms and solving problems. It’s hardly possible to conduct 62 reforms simultaneously, but

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

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

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

Russian stocks rise as Putin backs peaceful resolution of Ukraine crisis

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – June 26, 2014) Russian ruble has made rapid gains in value against the dollar and euro following statements made by Vladimir Putin. The Russian president declared his support for a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis after a meeting in Vienna with Austrian President

Russian stocks hit 5-month high as Putin rescinds right to use military force in Ukraine

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 25, 2014) Russian stocks hit a five-month high on June 24 after President Vladimir Putin asked Russia’s upper house of parliament to repeal a law that granted him the right to use military force in Ukraine, as investors speculate the standoff with the

Russian equities – the next leg up faces hurdles

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Peter Szopo of Erste Asset Management – June 18, 2014) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/comment-russian-equities-next-leg-faces-hurdles] The latest Russian stock rally was strong but short. It started in the last week of April and may have ended already in mid-June, as the situation in Ukraine began deteriorating once more. The main

Russian stocks exiting the darkness – profits should climb as economy recovers

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – UralSib – June 11, 2014) Our year-end RTS target of 1,520 implies 14% upside. Our yearend RTS target now stands at 1,520, implying 14% upside from the current level. Based on our calculations, the dividend yield for the index is currently 4.3%, which would put the total return at

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

Russian stocks: Abandon all hope, or time to buy?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Michael McAtavey, Special to RBTH – June 3, 2014) Russian markets have been pummeled by poor GDP growth and political headwinds. Yet some fund managers say they are finding deals. Sanctions. Conflict in neighboring Ukraine. Sagging economic growth. And let’s not forget capital flight. These are just some

World Bank Approves First Russia Investment Since Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Sandrine Rastello – June 3, 2014) The World Bank approved an investment in Russia for the first time since President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, overriding opposition from Canada and lack of support from the U.S. The International Finance Corp., the lender’s private-sector arm, voted May 29 for parts of a 250

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

Putin is risking the engine of Russia’s economy

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Lord Peter Mandelson of Global Counsel – May 27, 2014) Peter Mandelson was European Trade Commissioner between 2004 and 2008. He is now Chairman of Global Counsel Despite Russia’s recent underperformance, the size and potential of its economy has made it an attractive prospect for global companies. From

Welcome to a multipolar world

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Business New Europe, MOSCOW BLOG – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 19, 2014) The shouting match between west and east continues, but the Russian stock market was surging on May 19, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to arrive in China, where he is expected to sign a string

Russia is Worst Place for Foreign Investment, Poll Says

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 14, 2014) Russia has been cited as worst place to invest among the biggest world economies in light of the conflict in Ukraine, according to foreign investors polled by Bloomberg in their quarterly Global Market Investor’s Poll. Nearly 56 percent of respondents said that Russia was a poor place

BNE: Ukraine investors scatter as civil war approaches

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 7, 2014) Nathan Rothschild once famously said, “buy on the sound of canons, sell on the sound of trumpets.” However, the few investors that were still looking at Ukraine are fading away as the cycle of violence escalates and the body count rises.

Russia Recession Risk Seen Rising on Sanctions

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova and Andre Tartar – April 29, 2014) Russia faces a fifty-fifty chance of recession, the highest since Bloomberg started to track the measure, as the crisis in Ukraine raises the risk of further sanctions, according to a survey of economists. The probability of a recession over the next 12

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

Big Foreign Business Turns Blind Eye to Ukraine Sanctions

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – ALABUGA, Tatarstan, April 28, 2014) As Western politicians huffed and puffed about slapping additional sanctions on Russia, captains of big global business in the country showed no jitters as they met with top Russian officials Friday. Moreover, the only person to mention Russia’s clash with the West

Interfax: Foreign investors not put off by Western sanctions – Russian deputy PM

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – Vladivostok, April 26, 2014) Many foreign investors that have long been working in Russia are not planning to leave the country and intend to make new investments in the Russian Federation despite Western sanctions, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has said. “These are investors who have been working in Russia for many

Most Russians Support McDonald’s Closures, Poll Says

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 15, 2014) Liberal Democrat Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s call to close all McDonald’s restaurants in Russia received a lot of media attention, and a recent poll shows that most Russians would be glad to see the back of the fast food chain. Sixty-two percent of respondents support the closure

Burger King Expands Into Crimea After McDonald’s Exit

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – April 10, 2014) U.S. fast food giant Burger King plans to expand its chain into Crimea, filling the vacuum left when McDonald’s pulled out of the peninsula last Friday, citing unspecified supply issues. Burger King currently has no outlets in Crimea, which has been at the center

RIA Novosti: Capital Outflow from Russia Due to Ruble Rate, Not Crimea

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

BERLIN, April 10 (RIA Novosti) – The outflow of capital from Russia is not tied to events in Ukraine, but to fluctuations in the exchange rate of the ruble, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Thursday. “The outflow of capital is not mainly tied to Crimea, the outflow, of course, is connected with

Political instability affecting Russia’s investment climate

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ben Aris, special to RBTH – April 8, 2014) Ben Aris is the editor-in-chief of Business New Europe. The incursion into the Crimea was as much a shock to Russia’s business leaders as it was to the politicians in Brussels and Washington and is bound to hurt both

No, Russia Isn’t Going Broke Any Time Soon

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Mark Gimein – April 3, 2014) Mark Gimein is Companies and Markets editor at Bloomberg.com, and lead writer for the Market Now blog and newsletter. Russia finally succeeded in selling government bonds this week, at a fat yield of 8.93 percent. This comes after four failed auctions since the Crimea occupation

RIA Novosti: US Advises Funds to Warn Investors About Russian Risk – Report

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) – US financial officials have contacted investment funds with Russian assets and advised them to inform clients about potential risk associated with the crisis in Ukraine, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday. The commission began counseling investment companies weeks ago, advising them to clearly communicate risks with investors and warning

Markets plunge over Ukrainian crisis

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Tatyana Lisina, special to RBTH – March 4, 2014) The tensions in Crimea have already had serious economic consequences for Russia. The country’s stock market fell dramatically on Monday and the ruble continued its slide. Many experts compare the current developments to the events of August 2008, when

Russia waiting for U.S. investors

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Igor Dunayevsky, special to RBTH – February 27, 2014) Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukayev on Russia’s plans to attract U.S. investors and boost mutual trade. Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev paid a visit to the Washington, DC on Feb. 24-26 to discuss possibilities for

NEWSLINK: Russia holds rate, warns of rises if inflation accelerates

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

[“Russia holds rate, warns of rises if inflation accelerates” – CentralBankNews.info –  February 14, 2014 – http://www.centralbanknews.info/2014/02/russia-holds-rate-warns-of-rises-if.html] CentralBankNews.info covers Russia’s Central Bank and its decision to maintain its key policy rate at 5.50 per cent.  The Central Bank cautions that it could raise rates if inflation exceeds the bank’s target, but asserts an expectation that

Russian web millionaires go West

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – February 11, 2014) International expansion is the new watchword for the Russian venture market’s movers and shakers. As the latest ranking of the country’s internet millionaires indicates, the winners are those who invest abroad. The magazine Sekret Firmy (meaning “company secret” in Russian) has conducted a study together

Large investors, alumni of Russian universities to enjoy easier naturalization – newspaper

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

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) – The Federal Migration Service and the Economic Development Ministry have drawn up a law, which facilitates naturalization of foreign citizens, Kommersant wrote on Wednesday. The simpler naturalization procedure will be primarily granted to businessmen who invest at least ten million rubles in Russia and foreign alumni of Russian colleges and

Kaluga – Russia’s regional pioneer

Map of Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – February 11, 2014) Moscow is home to much of Russia’s wealth and has always been treated as a country and an investment destination in its own right. But over the last decade a handful of regions have got their act together and now are

Russian equities a case for cautious optimism

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ben Aris, special to RBTH  – January 31, 2014) Russia’s benchmark RTS Index fell 6 percent in 2013 for one of the poorest performances on record. But analysts expect 2014 to be a better year for Russian stocks. Russian equity had one of its worst years on record

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