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Ukraine update

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Tim Ash, Standard Bank – July 24, 2014) What is now clear on the ground is that Ukraine is at war, and with significant casualties suffered now by both sides on a daily basis – tens of lives lost almost daily now. The conflict is also causing very significant

RIA Novosti: Kiev Receives Russia’s Risk Assessment of Ukraine’s EU Association

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BRUSSELS, July 23 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev received Moscow’s list of potential risks that Ukraine’s association with the European Union could present to Russia’s economy, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told journalists. “Just yesterday, we received Russia’s perception of the potential risks,” Klimkin said on Tuesday. Ukraine signed the agreement on its association with the

RIA Novosti: Medvedev Says US, EU Companies Clearly Show Intention to Continue Work in Russia

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow has received «clear signals» from US and European companies about their intention to continue work in Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday. «We have received quite clear signals that European and American companies are set to continue work with Russian partners. Time is ripe now to use

Ukrainian Cows Kidnapped, Trafficked to Russia, Police Say

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 18, 2014) Against the backdrop of blistering diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Kiev, a 172-head herd of cows has been illegally trafficked across the Russian border, the Luhansk region branch of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry claimed Thursday. The herd went missing Wednesday night from a farm in Luhansk region’s Belovodsky

Russian Billionaires in ‘Horror’ as Putin Risks Isolation

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik, Ilya Arkhipov – July 21, 2014) Russia’s richest businessmen are increasingly frantic that President Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine will lead to crippling sanctions and are too scared of reprisal to say so publicly, billionaires and analysts said. If Putin doesn’t move to end the war in

Russia to Challenge U.S. Sanctions at WTO

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mark Lammey – July 21, 2014) Russia is planning to complain to the World Trade Organization, or WTO, abou t sanctions imposed by the U.S. over Russia’s perceived failure to help de-escalate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, media reports said. The U.S. on Wednesday let rip with its third and

RIA Novosti: Ukraine Predicts Bilateral Trade with Russia to Cease

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

KIEV, July 18 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Friday predicted that bilateral trade between Russia and Ukraine could come to a full stop over the complicated relations between the two countries and European sanctions imposed on Russia. “My prediction is the following: preparations reqired for an almost complete limitation of trade

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

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

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

Russian Government Sets Up Four-Year Plan to Boost Productivity

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – July 14, 2014) In an effort to transform Russia’s oil-dependent economy into a sustainable engine of growth, the government has unveiled a series of legal and financial measures aimed at fulfilling President Vladimir Putin’s ambitious pledge to increase Russia’s labor productivity 50 percent by 2018. Approved Wednesday

Why Russia won’t start a trade war with Ukraine this time round

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Iana Dreyer of borderlex.eu – July 11, 2014) High-level officials from the EU, Ukraine and Russia are holding a trilateral meeting in Brussels on July 11 to address Russia’s concerns about how the free trade and association pact that Brussels and Kyiv signed in late June might have

Russia’s capital flight hits 75 billion dollars

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Moscow, July 9, 2014) According to an assessment by the Central Bank of Russia, the net export of capital by banks and companies from the Russian Federation in the first half of 2014 was 74.6bn dollars. That is 120 per cent higher than in the first half of 2013 (33.7bn dollars), the Bank

RIA Novosti: Ukrainian Crisis Harmless for Russian Financial System – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) – The consequences for the Russian financial system if the crisis in Ukraine further escalates will be limited, according to a review of financial stability conducted by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. “The possible direct consequences for

How Bulgaria’s Bank Run Affects Ukraine’s European Dream

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ian Wishart, Elizabeth Konstantinova – July 3, 2014) Joining the European Union was meant to give Bulgaria a fresh start. Try telling that to Anna Dimitrova. “Bulgaria didn’t gain from the EU as much as it could have, because it’s mismanaged by corrupt politicians,” said Dimitrova, a law student, in central

Concern in Russia as foreign tourist numbers slump

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Viktor Kuzmin, special to RBTH – July 3, 2014) Tourist operators in Russia have expressed alarm at a substantial drop in the number of foreign visitors coming to the country in 2014. Key figures in the tourist industry speculate that the fall in tourist numbers may be a

RIA Novosti: US Exports to Russia Hit Record Levels in May Despite Sanctions

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) – US exports to Russia rose 21 percent and reached a record high of $1.25 billion in May, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, an arm of the US Department of Commerce. During the same month, American exports to the EU and China increased by only 2.5 percent and

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

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

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

Why Putin Is in Trouble With 86% Approval

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com –  Evgenia Pismennaya, Henry Meyer, Brad Cook – June 27, 2014) One month he wins the Olympics and kudos from world leaders. The next he grabs Crimea and gets kicked out of their most exclusive club. Now he’s facing a recession with few tools to fight it save the public’s love. Even

RIA Novosti: Candidate Status for Ukraine Difficult to Predict – EU Commissioner

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BRUSSELS, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s chances of attaining candidate status for membership in the European Union are hard to predict, Stefan Fuele, EU Commissioner for Enlargement said. “We are not at the stage when we could even speculate about the candidate status. We just signed the association agreement, it needs to be ratified,

NEWSLINK: Ukraine Signs Trade Agreement With European Union

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["Ukraine Signs Trade Agreement With European Union" - New York Times - ANDREW HIGGINS and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN - June 27, 2014] The New York Times reports on Ukraine and the European Union reaching a sweeping trade deal, one that had been the original impetus for protests effectively upending the earlier Ukrainian regime of Viktor Yanukovych. Meanwhile, Russia

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

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(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

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

Empty Boardroom

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

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

Russia has largest share of female top managers

Empty Boardroom

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

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

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

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

Ukrainian ‘Black Hole’ Weighs Heavy On European Business in Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – June 18, 2014) Politics took front stage at the flagship conference of the Association of European Business, or AEB, on Tuesday, where foreign companies with committed interests in Russia grappled with the economic fallout of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. Business as something relatively immune to political

INTERVIEW: Andrei Sharonov – sweating the chernovniki

Skolkovo File Photo

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

Russia To Test Migrant Workers On Country’s History

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Farangis Najibullah and Umid Bobomatov – June 13, 2014) So you want to work in Russia? You may be a skilled bricklayer — but do you know when Ivan the Terrible reined in the boyars? Or when the Polish-Lithuanian forces were expelled from Muscovy? When Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg? No? Well

Russian opposition media unite to go public

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

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

Number of millionaire households in Russia keeps growing

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – June 12, 2014) Wealth of Russian households increased 21.9% in 2013 to reach $1.92tn. The figures are disclosed in a survey “Riding a Wave of Growth: Global Wealth 2014″ made public by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and seen by RBC daily. Whilst calculating overall wealth, BCG took account

Russia Beyond the Headlines: What is the link between economics and Putin’s popularity?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Denis Volkov, special to RBTH – June 9, 2014) Denis Volkov is a sociologist with Levada Center. The analysis is based on data provided by the independent pollster Levada Center. A recent opinion poll by the Levada Center indicates that amid tensions over Ukraine and the takeover of

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

Moscow Renews Demolition Crusade Against Khrushchev’s 1950s Apartment Blocks

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mark Lammey – June 10, 2014) Demolition men have flattened 1,451 of Moscow’s Khrushchevki – cheaply built 1950′s apartment blocks that were never meant to make it into the 21st century – in the last 15 years, as part of a foundering plan by ex-Mayor Yury Luzhkov to freshen up

Russian Millionaires Up By 18.5 Percent, Report Shows

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

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

Regions to Gain Control of Russia’s Special Economic Zones

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – June 9, 2014) From next year, responsibility for Russia’s special economic zones – key institutions that have proved an invaluable boon to domestic and international companies investing in Russia – may be transferred from the federal to regional governments, a news report said Friday. The decision to

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

Putin’s China Deal Won’t Help Russian Economy Much, Moscow Experts Say

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 5, 2014) The much-ballyhooed gas deal Vladimir Putin signed with Beijing will only have an “insignificant” impact on Russia’s economic development and state revenues, according to an analysis by experts at the Center of Development of the Moscow Higher School of Economics. Their 43-page report is

In a global economy, can Russia go it alone?

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – David Miller, special to RBTH – June 4, 2014) Russia is far more integrated into the world economy today than its Soviet predecessor was, making sanctions a more challenging proposition than when the Soviet Union faced them in the 1980s. The standoff over Ukraine has pushed tensions between

Russians Paying Up to Turn Rubles Into Homes: Mortgages

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Lyubov Pronina – June 4, 2014) Denis Ichetkin’s decision to get a mortgage for a one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Moscow in late January couldn’t have been better timed, he said. The 30-year-old journalist and his wife Veronika secured a 15-year loan from VTB Group with a 12 percent interest

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

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(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

Survey Sees Less Risk of Future Economic Sanctions Against Russia

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 30, 2014) The risk that the U.S. and European Union will slap further sanctions on Russia over Ukraine is subsiding, but the threat of a recession still looms over Russia, a Bloomberg poll of economists found. Half of the 32 economists questioned for the poll, released on Tuesday, said

Moscow Places Near Bottom in TripAdvisor Cities Survey

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Breffny Morgan – May 29, 2014) Sanctions may come and go, but bad reviews last a lifetime. TripAdvisor, the second most popular travel website, has recently blasted Russia on several counts of being the world’s worst travel destination in its yearly Cities Survey. This is not an overt move by

St. Petersburg forum attracts foreign investors despite boycott

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – May 29, 2014) In spite of boycotts by CEOs of top global companies by the U.S. and a number of other Western nations, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, held on May 22-24 in Russia’s second city, saw contracts signed between U.S. firms and

RIA Novosti: Medvedev Warns Strained Relations Could Have Economic Impact

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MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned Thursday that new pitfalls in the country’s economic development cannot be ruled out due to strained ties with Ukraine and possibly with other ex-Soviet states. “The next few years will be marked by continued instability and strained environment in some markets. New risks

Kremlin will Be in Trouble if It Tries to Take Away Anything Russians Assume is Rightfully Theirs, Gudkov Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, May 28, 2014) Russians are now far more concerned about defending what they have than in getting something better, Lev Gudkov says. Consequently, if the Kremlin does try to take away something the majority thinks is rightfully theirs, such a step would almost certainly put the survival

Sechin Sues Forbes for ‘Highest-Paid Executive’ Rating

Igor Sechin file photo

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

Russia tests waters of WTO dispute settlement with EU complaints

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Jennifer Freedman of Borderlex – May 17, 2014) Less than two years after becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Russia has filed two complaints with the dispute settlement body in Geneva that target the EU, Russia’s main trading partner. These complaints concern antidumping duties and

Putin is risking the engine of Russia’s economy

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(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

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