NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Stephen Hadley, Robert Zoellick: Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine. Without debt reduction and more aid, a young democracy could vanish.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Hadley and Robert Zoellick address the issue of Western assistance for Ukraine amidst the Russo-Ukrainian War, including financial and debt-related assistance. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the […]

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NEWSLINK Australian Financial Review: How Russia proved to be the best BRICS bet in 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Russia’s surge in fortunes presents a contrast with the events of December, when stocks tumbled almost 9 percent and the ruble sank to a record, prompting the central bank to raise interest rates to the highest in more than a decade. That marked the peak of turmoil that had begun with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March and crude oil’s […]

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What Does Greece’s ‘No’ Vote Mean for Russia?

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova, Delphine d’Amora – July 7, 2015) As EU leaders gather Tuesday to seek an answer to Greece’s sweeping rejection of international bailout terms, Russia -the EU’s third-largest trading partner – is quietly waiting to see where the chips fall. Hailed as a victory for democracy by Greece’s new far-left leaders, the resounding “no” […]

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Saudi Arabia to invest $10bn in Russia via fund

Middle East Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 7, 2015) Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund, will invest $10bn in Russia via the government-run Russian Direct Invest Fund (RDIF), in what will be Saudi Arabia’s biggest ever investment in Russia. “This is a landmark transaction, one of the largest transactions in the realm of sovereign […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Dismissal of American vice rector in Nizhny Novgorod causes controversy

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – July 3, 2015) The dismissal of an American lecturer from a leading position at a Russian university following an “incriminating” report on television sparked talk of an increase in the harassment of foreigners. Russian lawmakers are planning to introduce a “patriotic stop list” – a list of foreign funds […]

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Russia’s recovery faces a reality check

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – June 22, 2015) After a relatively positive performance for Russia’s economy in the first quarter, the second quarter has brought more of a reality check, with sharply lower numbers across many categories reported in April and May. The preliminary GDP estimate for April shows a contraction of 4.2% year […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Russia’s Struggling Economy Clouds St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Corporate executives head to President Vladimir’s Putin hometown for annual event

St. Petersburg

Corporate executives head to President Vladimir’s Putin hometown for annual event.

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: The Putin Recession; Russia’s economy keeps shrinking, but the West won’t take advantage

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal editors address Russia’s economic crisis and the West’s apparent unwillingness to step up economic pressure. The Russian recession is expected to continue unfolding. An oddity of recent weeks has been the attempt to argue that Russia’s economy isn’t as awful as it looks. Then along comes Friday’s report that GDP fell 1.9% year-on-year in the first […]

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Russian Foreign Direct Investment Dropped 40% in 2014

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 19, 2015) Overseas investment by Russian companies fell to $56 billion last year, a 40 percent decline from 2013, even as China led a wider boom in foreign direct investment from emerging economies, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released Monday. The figure means that Russia […]

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NEWSLINK Bostinno: What Now for MIT and Moscow’s ‘Innovation City’? [Skolkovo]

Skolkovo File Photo

In 2011, MIT and Russian institutions including the Skolkovo Foundation launched a multi-year collaboration to facilitate the conception of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology—dubbed Skoltech— a private graduate research university in a suburb of Moscow that was designed to stimulate the Russian entrepreneurial ecosystem and address a number of pressing global issues.   http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2015/05/16/mits-skolkovo-tech-incubator-skoltech-struggles-in-russia/  

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Is Gazprom a “buy”?

Gas Facility file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – May 7, 2015) [Chart here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/moscow-blog-gazprom-buy] With the RTS Index up 30% year-to-date, foreign investors are drifting back into Russian shares simply because they are so cheap. But is the bluest of Russian blue chips and long-time market proxy Gazprom a buy again? Russian investment bank Renaissance […]

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Sanoma sells Vedomosti to comply with Russian media law

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 30, 2015) Finnish publishing company Sanoma has sold its 33.3% share in the Russian business daily Vedomosti to publishing executive Demyan Kudryavtsev, in the latest shake-up to Russia’s media landscape caused by new legislation limiting foreign ownership. The stake in Delovoi Standard, the publisher of the daily, was sold to […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Russian Assets Regain Appeal for Investors. The country’s ruble, sovereign bonds, and stocks attract those seeking higher yields

St. Basil's Domes

Investors have taken Russia out of the penalty box. The ruble has gained 17.5% in 2015 against the U.S. dollar, after losing nearly half of its value in 2014, according to financial-data provider CQG. It has soared 46% from an intraday record low set in December. Russia’s stock index denominated in the ruble has soared 20% this year through Monday, […]

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Russia-Focused Funds Get Most Investment in 8 Months

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 27, 2015) Investment funds focused on Russia saw their largest weekly influx of cash since September last week, showing that international investors are now returning to Russia after last year’s torrential capital outflows, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday. Funds concentrating on Russia gained $182 million in investment in the week ending April 22, more […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes: Here’s How Much Russian Stock Values Have Eroded Since Sanctions

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

For Russia investors, timing was everything.  Those who bought on the bad news of last summer were hit with more bad news come the end of summer when the U.S. sanctioned Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil. Then the Russian Central Bank went into panic mode and raised interest rates to save the ruble. The market sensed that the bank was getting […]

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NEWSLINK AFP: Russia’s vast Arctic gas project aims to avoid Ukraine deep freeze

Arctic Map

Spread across the frozen whiteness of the Russian Arctic, the ambitious $27 billion Yamal gas megaproject aims to defy both the extreme temperatures and the Ukraine crisis impacting its funding. Some 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) northeast of Moscow, the Yamal site — a joint venture by Russia’s Novatek, France’s Total and China’s CNPC — is eventually meant be one of […]

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Russia Economy Recovering as Oil Reliance Eases, Dvorkovich Says

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – David Tweed, Haslinda Amin – April 20, 2015) Russia’s economy showed signs of recovery in the first and second quarters amid a declining dependence on oil, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said. “Oil prices are not as important to the Russian economy as before,” Dvorkovich told Bloomberg TV Monday at the World Economic Forum on […]

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Weak Russian Economic Data Blunt Putin’s Optimism

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – April 20, 2015) The ruble slumped 4 percent and Moscow-listed stocks fell on Friday after official data showed that Russia’s economy contracted sharply in the first quarter of this year. The data, which showed a deep decline in real wages and consumer spending, came a day after President Vladimir Putin told Russians […]

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NEWSLINK CNBC: Russia has bigger concerns than oil, ruble: Deputy PM

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

Faced with the triple whammy of plunging oil prices, currency volatility and Western sanctions, there’s no dearth of challenges for Russia’s ailing economy, but Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said what hurts most is the scarcity of financing for new investments. “The shortness of financing for new investments is where the Russian economy is being hit in the most important […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia must review participation in international funds – finance minister

Anton Siluanov file photo

Russia must review its participation in international financial organisations because the country is paying too much in fees, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/15/russia-crisis-internationalfunds-idUSR4N0X602D20150415

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Russian Capital Flight Slows to $32.6 Billion in First Quarter

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 10, 2015) Net capital outflow from Russia was $32.6 billion in the first quarter of the year, down from $72.9 billion in the previous three months, suggesting that panic over Russia’s economic crisis has receded, data published this week by the Central Bank showed. Capital flight from Russia nearly tripled in 2014 from the […]

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Ruble whipsaws top forecasters as worst currency becomes best

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – MOSCOW, April 6, 2015) For one of the toughest jobs in financial markets, try predicting the ruble. As Russia’s currency went from the world’s worst performer to the best in the first three months of this year, it caught out even the most accurate forecasters. Oil’s drop to near a six-year low and […]

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Russia Sets Terms for Capital Amnesty to ‘Correct Past Mistakes’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov, Anna Andrianova – March 26, 2015) Russia laid out the terms of a draft law to offer amnesty on repatriating capital, promising new incentives and legal protections to aid an economy starved of investment by sanctions over Ukraine. The bill won’t require the return of assets to Russian territory, demanding only their registration in […]

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Russia Rebounds, Despite Sanctions

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Matthew A. Winkler – March 20, 2015) Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News, writes about markets. [Charts here bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-20/russia-rebounds-despite-sanctions] Sanctions meant to punish Russia for snatching Crimea from Ukraine one year ago were supposed to hurt Russian business. And they did. Russian stocks, bonds and commodities had the worst performance in 2014 of those in […]

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NEWSLINK Moscow Times: Q&A: Drawing Foreign Firms to Russia [interview with Kaluga governor Anatoly Artamonov]

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Kaluga region, an hour’s drive southwest of Moscow, has become a haven for investors. International giants in industries ranging from automotive to pharmaceutical have built plants, trained and employed thousands of locals, and turned a once-depressed region heavily dependent on federal subsidies into a donor to the national budget. …   http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/qa-drawing-foreign-firms-to-russia/517581.html

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Botched Law Could Close Hundreds of Foreign Firms’ Rep Offices in Russia

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – March 11, 2015) Representative and branch offices of foreign companies working in Russia are in a race against time to re-register with the authorities or lose their license to operate in the country. The re-registration was intended to streamline bureaucracy for foreign firms, but organizational failures and lack of proper warning have […]

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Has the Russian equity market turned the corner?

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 6, 2015) So far in 2015 Russia has been one of the best performing equity markets, up 15% year-to-date, following three straight weeks of inflows following the Minsk II ceasefire agreement signed in February. So far in 2015 Russia has been one of the best performing equity markets, […]

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Foreign Russia Investors Warn Over Nemtsov Killing

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – March 3, 2015) Businessmen and investors said Monday that the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov by the walls of the Kremlin last week will further worsen Russia’s battered investment climate and create more uncertainty in a market suffering from Western sanctions and an economic recession. “We are already in a period […]

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War in Ukraine obstructing Russian economic recovery, say analysts

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – March 2, 2015) The war in Ukraine is impeding attempts to improve the business climate in Russia, according to the head of the Moscow State University Department of Economics, Alexander Auzan. The Russian authorities therefore have to invest in infrastructure projects in order to overcome the crisis, say analysts. […]

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Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – February 26, 2015) Russia is emerging as the world’s best stock market after putting in the worst performance last year. For neighboring Ukraine, the second-biggest loser in 2014, there’s no sign of such a turnaround yet. Russia’s dollar-denominated RTS Index has soared 15 percent in 2015, while the Ukrainian Equities Index is last […]

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Russia Dumps $22 Billion in U.S. Bonds to Slow Economy’s Slide

Portion U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – February 20, 2015) Moscow sold a total of $45 billion of U.S. treasury bonds in 2014 as relations with Western governments reached a post-Soviet nadir over the Ukraine crisis. Russia jettisoned $22 billion worth of U.S. treasury bonds in December as the Kremlin scrambled for cash to battle a plunging ruble and […]

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Russia’s investment climate plummets

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – PERSPECTIVE: bne IntelliNews – February 16, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/perspective-russias-investment-climate-plummets] A survey into Russia’s investment climate by Moscow-based Detail Communications found that investment confidence has halved since the crisis hit. However, a third of respondents – a mix of portfolio managers and analysts from some of the most prominent investment banks, asset management firms […]

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NEWSWATCH: Morgan Stanley thinks Russia’s doomed

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

[“Morgan Stanley thinks Russia’s doomed” – BusinessInsider.com – Elena Holodny – January 30, 2015] Business Insider reports on Morgan Stanley’s pessimistic Russian economic forecast: Morgan Stanley has a short message for Russia: you’re doomed. This past week hasn’t been easy for the Russian economy: … Thursday … EU foreign ministers decided to extend … sanctions on Russia by six months. Additionally, the Central Bank slashed […]

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S&P downgrades Russia to junk

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – January 27, 2015) Standard & Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk status late on January 26, a move which precipitated the rouble’s fall by more than 6%. S&P lowered Russia’s credit rating to BB+, one step below investment grade, as renewed fighting in Ukraine raised the threat of tighter Western […]

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Ambassador John F. Tefft Speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia

John Tefft file photo

(US Embassy Moscow – January 20, 2015) Thank you for that introduction, Alex. I am grateful for this opportunity to speak to members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. I am sure you already know them and work closely with them, but let me start by introducing my team. First, there is Deputy Chief of Mission Lynne Tracy […]

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Double trouble – Russia 2014 vs 2008

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Peter Szopo of Erste Asset Management – January 20, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/comment-double-trouble-russia-2014-vs-2008] History, they say, does not repeat itself – it rhymes. Even if this were true, history’s rhymes are clunky at best. While Russia’s current crisis has obvious parallels with the turmoil in 2008, such as the drop in oil prices, […]

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Legislation proposes regulation of ‘undesirable’ foreign organizations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – January 16, 2015) A bill that has passed its first reading the Russian State Duma would give the government the right to fine or ban foreign organizations it deems a security threat. Russia is trying to tighten its control over foreign organizations operating in the country. According to a […]

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What a ‘Junk’ Rating Would Mean for Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – January 15, 2015) Russian officials and experts warned Wednesday that an expected decision by Standard and Poor’s to deprive Russia of its investment-grade credit rating could cost the country up to $30 billion and drain more money from an economy that is already entering recession. Major credit rating agencies Fitch and Standard […]

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Rating Downgrade Set to Scare More Capital Out of Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson, Alexander Panin – January 12, 2015) Rating agency Fitch on Friday downgraded Russia’s credit rating to one notch above junk status, warning that oil price falls and Western sanctions could contract the country’s economy by 4 percent this year and force the government to pour cash into Russia’s buckling banking system. Coming on […]

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Kremlin to sell off 19.5% stake in Rosneft in bid to raise funds

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH- December 9, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to sell off 19.5 percent of the shares in Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft. According to experts, this might help the government generate extra cash amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions. However, this may not be the […]

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Interfax: Kremlin chief of staff “acknowledges” corruption problem

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

(Interfax – December 8, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff has spoken about corruption in Russia. In his remarks, reported by Russian Interfax and TASS news agencies on 8 December, Sergey Ivanov said the Russian government “acknowledged” the problem and had been taking “consistent” steps to deal with it. He dismissed a Transparency International study which ranked Russia 136th […]

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Putin offers Russian business ‘full’ offshore capital amnesty

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 4, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a complete capital amnesty, allowing businesses to repatriate offshore funds without fear of the consequences. “We need to finally turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and country,” Putin told the federal assembly in his annual address. “If someone […]

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Interfax: Russian Investigations Committee drafts measures to slow down capital flight

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – November 24, 2014) Russian Investigations Committee has prepared its own proposals allowing to “considerably slow down” the capital flight from Russia, the committee’s head Aleksandr Bastrykin has said, as reported by privately-owned news agency Interfax on 24 November. “We are so wealthy and powerful that we will be able to cope with problems caused by sanctions that are […]

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Ukraine Shrugged Off as Russia ETF Swells to Record

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – November 24, 2014) As oil fell into a bear market, the ruble traded at record lows and NATO said President Vladimir Putin is stoking conflict in Ukraine, bets on the biggest exchange-traded fund tracking Russian stocks surged to a record. Demand for shares in the Market Vectors Russia ETF has held up as […]

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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, said Svetlana Polyakova, a spokeswoman […]

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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. The new amendments, which will […]

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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 country’s future. The mood at […]

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