Jim Beam Didn’t Get Putin Memo as Whiskey Eyes Russians

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Duane D. Stanford – November 5, 2012) Beam Inc. (BEAM) wants more vodka-imbibing Russians to drink Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark whiskey. Apparently Vladimir Putin didn’t get the memo. In a campaign to help his people live longer, Russia’s president is pushing the biggest crackdown on alcohol since the cold war. That could complicate Beam’s efforts […]

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Water Privatization in Russia: More Than a Drop in the Ocean

File Photo of Water Facet with Drop of Water Coming Out

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Luka Oreskovic – November 2, 2012) Without water, humans can only live for a few days. Yet only about 1 percent of the earth’s water is suitable for human consumption. Rising GDP brings increases in demand for food production, including meat, which demands the greatest amount of water. Treating water is therefore a key utility. […]

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Medvedev Sends Innovation Spending Plan Back to the Drawing Board

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – November 2, 2012) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday rejected a government plan to develop science and technology after describing its reliance on a surge in private funding as “absolutely unrealistic.” The proposal, reviewed at a Cabinet meeting, envisioned that private companies would increase spending on research tenfold by 2020, compared to […]

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Cautious optimism over former Yukos partner’s reduced prison sentence

Platon Lebedev

(Interfax Moscow, 1 November) Vladimir Ryzhkov, co-chairman of RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia – Party of People’s Freedom), has said that he has mixed feelings after hearing the news that the Velsk Town Court in Arkhangelsk Region on Thursday (1 November) reduced the prison sentence of Platon Lebedev, former MFO Menatep head (and business partner of jailed former Yukos oil […]

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New English-Language Radio Station To Hit Airwaves in Moscow

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, November 2 (RIA Novosti) ­ Moscow city officials plan to target tourists and English-speaking residents in a whole new way: with a new English-language radio station. Moscow FM, which will be hosted on the 105.2 frequency, is expected to hit the airwaves on November 12, the Kommersant daily newspaper reported Friday. Igor Shestakov, chief editor of the Moscow Media […]

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Russians slightly less confident about long-term future than before – poll

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

(Interfax – Moscow, 1 November) The majority of Russians are trying to plan their lives (60 per cent), but mainly over the short term (43 per cent), and 39 per cent of those polled are not inclined to plan for the future, sociologists have found. Among the groups most likely to try to plan for the future are young Russians […]

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NEWSLINK: GM Russian Car Venture Is Pleasant Surprise

Niva file photo

(GM Russian Car Venture Is Pleasant Surprise – Wall Street Journal – Lukas I. Alpert – November 1, 2012 – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203922804578080972277444736.html) The Wall Street Journal reports on General Motors efforts to build cars in Russia, specifically 4-wheel-drive Chevrolet Niva SUV’s for the Russian market.  A joint venture with Russian carmaker OAO AvtoVaz, the enterprise struggled at first, during GM’s reorganization […]

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Ranking Shows No Progress on Financial System

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 1, 2012) Russia placed 39th on a list of global financial systems compiled by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, with no improvement on last year’s position and three places lower than 2008. The goal of turning Moscow into an international financial center and making the ruble a reserve currency has […]

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Two-thirds of Russians approve of Putin’s work as president – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Interfax – Moscow, 31 October) According to sociological surveys, Russians support the president, emphasize the need for reforms in the country and believe that there will be improvements in the political and economic life in the near future. Vladimir Putin’s work as president is currently approved of by 67 per cent of those surveyed, a third of citizens (32 per […]

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Report: No WTO Gains Visible Yet

WTO Logo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 29, 2012) WTO director-general Pascal Lamy and the Russian negotiation team leader Maxim Medvedkov celebrating Russia’s entry into the global trade rules club in August 2012. Accession to the World Trade Organization is generating minimal short-term economic gains for Russia, and the long-term benefits are exaggerated, ING Bank said. Russia’s entry […]

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Russian Puzzle: Change Inevitable, Evolution Impossible, Revolution Implausible

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org –  Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 197 – Pavel K. Baev –  October 29, 2012) The Moscow rumor about President Vladimir Putin’s health problems appears well-informed and confirmed by several cancellations of long-scheduled visits and by the postponement of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, but it is remarkable how little […]

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Business Group Pushes Its Own Pension Reform

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Rachel Nielsen – October 29, 2012) As the government looks to announce another proposal next month to change the country’s pension system, business lobbying group Delovaya Rossia is stepping up its campaign against the currently proposed reforms and promoting its own. In a one-page position paper, the group flatly states that it doesn’t support the […]

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Putin Squares Off with Valdai Experts on Economy, Pussy Riot

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(RIA Novosti – Andrei Zolotov, Jr. – October 26, 2012) If there had been any expectations among Russia watchers of “a new Putin” coming back to the presidential office after the elections, they must have been finally put to rest after the Russian president’s meeting on Thursday with a group of political scientists and economic experts known as the Valdai […]

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Prokhorov Trades Business for Politics

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 29, 2012) Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov announced at a weekend congress of his new Civic Platform party that he is quitting business to enter politics full time, and delegates overwhelmingly elected him as their leader. Prokhorov, 47, said he would place his fortune, estimated at $13.2 billion by Forbes magazine, in a […]

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[TRANSCRIPT: Putin] Meeting with Valdai International Discussion Club participants

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Kremlin.ru – Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region – October 25, 2012) During his meeting with members of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Vladimir Putin talked about the current state of the Russian economy and scenarios for Russia’s economic development. The ninth annual conference of the Valdai International Discussion Club on The Future Is Being Made Today: Scenarios for Russia’s Economic Development is […]

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EBRD Predicts Russian Economic Slowdown in 2012-2013

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

LONDON, October 26 (RIA Novosti)-The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in a revised forecast that the Russian economy will grow more slowly than it previously projected reflecting weaker internal and external demand and growing capital outflow. “On current trends, GDP growth is expected to slow to 3.2 percent in 2012 and pick up slightly to 3.3 percent […]

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Economy Is Focal Point for Putin’s Foreign Expert Club

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – October 26, 2012) OVO-OGARYOVO ­ President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Thursday that he had to make a difficult choice when he approved the purchase of TNK-BP by state behemoth Rosneft, as the decision contradicts the government’s policy to reduce its presence in the economy. But he made it clear that the government had […]

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Russia’s EU Representative: Moscow to honor its WTO commitments

EU Map

(Interfax – October 25, 2012) Russia’s entry into the WTO will facilitate trade with the European Union and make it more transparent, Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told Interfax on Thursday with regard to the European Parliament debate on EU-Russia trade in the context of Russia’s WTO membership. “Naturally, the entry into the WTO, which became […]

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NEWSLINK: Hand-wringing at dinner with Putin

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Hand-wringing at dinner with Putin – Financial Times – Neil Buckley – October 25, 2012 – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ced25a3a-1deb-11e2-901e-00144feabdc0.html The Financial Times examines growing limitations on Russian economic prospects, and the resulting impact on the latest “Valdai Discussion Club” dinner: … the event, and the context, has changed a lot. In Valdai’s early years, Russia was growing at 7 per cent a […]

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Russian politicians, experts slam EU for passing Magnitskiy resolution

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – October 24, 2012)  The resolution on the Magnitskiy (Magnitsky) list passed by the European Parliament is “designed to undermine contacts between Russia and Europe”, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 24 October, quoting head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Aleskey Pushkov. Politicians On 23 October the European lawmakers passed a resolution requiring the EU to draw […]

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Russian Economy Will Struggle to Grow 3% Per Year, Ruble to Weaken – HSBC

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Russian GDP will grow 3% in 2012 and 2.5% in 2013, but that is as good as it will get until structural changes are implemented, Alexander Morozov, chief economist for Russia and the CIS at HSBC, said at a meeting with reporters. The ruble will continue to weaken, falling to 32.27 rubles/$1 by the end […]

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Kremlin Disagrees With Russian Think Tank’s ‘Apocalyptic’ Scenarios

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo – 24 October) The report issued by the Centre for Strategic Research contains unduly pessimistic scenarios for the country’s development, which can not be accepted, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said. “The report is quite extensive, and gives an expert point of view, of which there are many. Of course, it will take us […]

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Senior Lawmaker Slams Think Tank’s Grim Forecast For Russia

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – One of the leaders of the ruling United Russia party and a deputy chairman of the State Duma has given lie to a pessimistic economic forecast in a report by Russia’s Strategic Projects Center released on Wednesday, a paper that blamed the country’s alleged degradation on its leaders. “The report itself has been done not […]

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TNK-BP Deal a Boon for State, Welcome Sign for Foreigners

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – October 23, 2012) Rosneft’s deal to take over TNK-BP masterfully achieves the dual purpose of strengthening the state’s hand in the oil industry to spectacular proportions and showcasing its benevolence to foreign capital at the same time. Officially confirmed Monday, the gradual $56 billion purchase of the country’s third-largest crude producer will […]

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Russia’s Rising Red Dawn

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, October 23 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 appeared to have sounded the death knell for the ideas of Marx and Lenin in Russia, but just over two decades on, a new wave of young and increasingly visible socialist activists are eager to hoist the red flag over the Kremlin once more. […]

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Valdai Experts Lament Poor Institutions in Russia

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

St. Petersburg, October 23 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Zolotov Jr.) – Lack of efficient institutions and the political will to reform them were the buzzwords among the strategists and experts in economics and public policy at the Valdai Club’s 9th annual conference on Russia’s trajectory. The Valdai Club, which is co-sponsored by RIA Novosti and the Russian Council on Foreign and […]

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MOSCOW BLOG: Liberals take off gloves in first clash with Kremlin old guard

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 24 ,2012) It was the first head-to-head clash between the young liberal team in Russia’s cabinet and the old guard Siloviki faction in the presidential administration. On balance, the liberals are seen as having sneaked a win. The battle lines have been drawn since Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appointed a surprisingly reform-minded […]

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Rosneft Deal Shows Ex-KGB Spy’s Influence Under Putin: Energy

Igor Sechin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Matthew Campbell – October 24, 2012) As a small army of advisers from eight investment banks huddled in London last weekend to negotiate Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft (ROSN)’s agreement to acquire BP Plc (BP/)’s Russian venture, the deal’s most important player had already left the country. Igor Sechin, 52, a former Soviet spy and […]

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Russian Unemployment Spans From 0.6% in Moscow to 47.3% in Ingushetia

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Oct 19 (Interfax) – Differentiation between the levels of unemployment in Russia’s federal districts remains strong – the gap in the districts can surpass four-fold and in the regions 80-fold, the Federal State Statistics Service Rosstat said in a report on employment and unemployment in September. The lowest level of unemployment, in accordance with ILO criteria, was in the […]

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Putin Balks at Pension Threats as Aging Russians Hold Trump Card

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – October 21, 2012) Nina Sultankina is telling Vladimir Putin to ignore Russia’s ticking pensions time bomb. As the 50-year-old road supervisor counts the days until she can retire and tend to her failing health in 2016, she is refusing to work longer and not even the Russian president can change her mind. “I […]

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Russia Hopes to Improve Doing Business Ranking Through Tax Administration – Minister

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – Russia hopes improve its ranking on the Doing Business index by improving tax administration, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. In the last Doing Business index, Russia was number 120. The country’s authorities have selected this index as an indicator of the success of their efforts to improve the business climate. In his first instruction after […]

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Ombudsman Unveils Program for Disgruntled Businesspeople

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 18, 2012) Blocked by bureaucracy? Not appreciated by officials? Look for the red button. Under a new initiative by business ombudsman Boris Titov, people sent packing by government agencies will have someone to help them try again. Due to be drawn up by the end of December, the Red Button program […]

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Trial of Prison Warden Where Magnitsky Died to Continue in Moscow

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) – Moscow’s Tverskoi Court on Tuesday will continue hearings of the criminal case against a former deputy head of Butyrka prison, Dmitry Kratov, who is the only suspect thus far to have been accused of negligence leading to Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death. Evidence is expected to be provided by investigator Oleg Silchenko, who probed […]

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Russian Business Climate, Corruption Hold Back Rating, S&P Says

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose – October 16, 2012) Russia needs a better business climate to bolster economic growth and win an upgrade of its investment-grade credit rating, according to Standard & Poor’s. The government must deal with “structural impediments” to growth by fighting corruption, scaling back the state’s role in the economy and improving the judiciary, while moving […]

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Towns Face Budget Battles They Can’t Win

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Rachel Nielsen – October 16, 2012) In a recent comedy sketch show, a police officer forks over the pay raise that he hid from his wife after she hears President Vladimir Putin announce the increase on TV. “Vladimir Vladimirovich,” the policeman mutters on the “6 Kadrov” television show, “thank you for raising our salaries, but […]

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Russian Middle Class to Number 74 Million by 2050, HSBC Predicts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – October 15, 2012) Russia’s middle class will double to 60 percent of the population by 2050, benefiting hotels and restaurants, according to a report by HSBC Holdings Plc. (HSBA) By that time, about 74 million Russians will earn between $3,000 and $15,000 a year, making them part of the middle class, according to […]

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Kudrin Criticizes Prevalence of Social, Military Spending in Budget

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) – International Expert Council for Russia Chairman Alexei Kudrin said at a World Economic Forum session, attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, that the prevalence of social and military spending in the Russian budget had its shortcomings. “It was noted (during discussions on Sunday) that the structure of the budget was weak and that there […]

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The return of Sechin: An apparent compromise in a government rivalry places Putin’s key ally back in the picture

Igor Sechin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 15, 2012) President Vladimir Putin has reportedly okayed a plan by the state-owned Rosneft oil company to buy BP’s 50 percent stake in TNKBP ­ and this may be part of a larger compromise with Putin’s key ally, Igor Sechin, who controls Rosneft. That compromise, analysts said, could affect everything from […]

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NEWSBLOG: Russian Journalist Reports on Putin’s Meeting with Iraq’s Al-Maliki; Wing-span of 4.5 Billion Dollars — Meeting between Russian President and Iraqi Prime Minister Opened Deal to Supply Aircraft

Map of Iraq

“Russian Journalist Reports on Putin’s Meeting with Iraq’s Al-Maliki” – “Wing-span of 4.5 Billion Dollars — Meeting between Russian President and Iraqi Prime Minister Opened Deal to Supply Aircraft” – Kommersant – Andrey Kolesnikov – October 11, 2012 – no link available to English-language version Andrey Kolesnikov writes about a dinner meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamil Mohammed Hasan […]

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Capital Outflow From Russia Will Save Economy From Overheat – Moiseyev

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

TOKYO. Oct 12 (Interfax) – The capital outflow to which Russia has fallen victim over the last several months will protect the country’s economy from a possible overheat, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev said in conversation with the press on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Tokyo. “My […]

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Utilities Russia’s Worst Nightmare – Poll

File Photo of Electrical Yard with Fence and Warning Sign

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – The critical situation in the housing and utilities sector is Russia’s most pressing problem with inflation only coming second, a pollster said on Monday. Over 55 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion on Social and Economic Issues said housing and utilities tariffs were […]

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Global Economic Situation Remains Uncertain, IMF Says

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

TOKYO. Oct 15 (Interfax) – The ongoing uncertainty in the economic policies of developed nations is restraining investment in these countries and slowing global growth, while a decline in activity in emerging markets is making it more difficult to achieve balance in the global economy, the IMF said in a communique following a meeting of its International Monetary and Finance […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia expects tax reforms to boost oil output

Oil Well file photo

Russia expects tax reforms to boost oil output – Reuters – October 9, 2012 – click here for original article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/09/russia-energy-idUSL6E8L9PU620121009 Reuters covers Russian aspirations to expand oil output through tax breaks: Russia aims to bring on line 1.4 million to 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day with new tax reforms designed to reduce the levy on future […]

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Pundits argue that Putin became a symbol of stability, but his policy should be adjusted to future challenges

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

(Interfax – October 7, 2012) President Vladimir Putin, who has turned 60 on Oct. 7, has gone down in history already as a statesman, who has put Russia back on the path of stability. However, demand has been growing in Russia for “a new Putin,” strong enough to accomplish fresh breakthroughs, political analysts say. “Russia approached the 21st century on […]

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Kudrin Offered Mega-Regulator Job

Alexei Kudrin file photo

STRASBOURG, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been offered the post of head of Russia’s new financial mega-regulator, he disclosed on Monday. “Yes, I have received the offer but I’m not ready so far to discuss it in detail,” Kudrin said on the sidelines of the global forum for democracy in Strasbourg. First Deputy […]

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World Bank lowers Russia GDP growth forecast to 3.5% in 2012, 3.6% in 2013

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Oct 8 (Interfax) – The World Bank has lowered its 2012 GDP growth forecast for Russia to 3.5%, from the 3.8% it was predicting in June, the World Bank said in its latest Russian Economic Report. The 3.5% growth is the same as the World Bank forecast back in March. The World Bank also lowered its 2013 growth forecast […]

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Altai and Chechnya “Greenest Economies” in New Integrated Index

File Photo of Grozny, Looking out of Building Through Damaged Wall

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – October 4, 2012 The Altai republic and Chechnya have the cleanest economies in Russia, according to a new index released Tuesday. The index, put together by WWF Russia and state-owned news agency RIA-Novosti with the support of the Russian Geographic Society, is one of the first attempts to combine environmental threat factors, […]

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Foreign Ministry Plays Down U.S. Smuggling Arrests

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 5, 2012 The Foreign Ministry on Thursday complained that it had not been properly informed by United States authorities that a group of Russian citizens had been arrested on charges of smuggling microelectronics, raising “serious concerns” for Russia. “A lot is unclear in this story. It raises serious concerns, and we […]

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Facebook Flirts With Local Geeks in Battle for Russia

File Photo of Mark Zuckerberg Gesturing

Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marie Mawad and Ilya Khrennikov – October 5, 2012 Looking for a public bathroom in Moscow? Facebook Inc. (FB) has you covered. Still a dwarf in Russia, the world’s largest social network is courting local geeks to build apps tailor-made for their home market. Its goal is to win over users in Europe’s most populous country […]

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Not Possible to Support Social Protections, Large Army, Many State Properties Simultaneously – Dvorkovich

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 3 (Interfax) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has called it impossible for Russia to simultaneously have a high level of social protection, a large army, and a lot of state properties. “We cannot allow ourselves to simultaneously have a very high level of social protection in a system built on paternalistic principles, at the same time […]

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