Kremlin Silent as Magnitsky Bill Heads to House

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova and Anatoly Medetsky – November 15, 2012) The Kremlin remained silent Wednesday after U.S. lawmakers moved to advance a bill to punish Russian officials for human rights violations. A decision Tuesday by the House Rules Committee will bring the bill, which aroused strong opposition in Moscow, up for a vote by the full […]

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US Firms Eye Big Dollars from Normalized Trade With Russia

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

WASHINGTON, November 15 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) The Louisiana Caviar Company in the southern US coastal city of New Orleans produces a unique fish delicacy that is wildly popular in Russia. But owner John Burke says his company could profit much more if US lawmakers would approve permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia­a move expected to be […]

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Putin Backs Russian Pension Revamp Opposed by Finance Ministry

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Olga Tanas – November 14, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin backed a planned pension overhaul opposed by the Finance Ministry, Economy Ministry and asset managers, who warn it would curb economic growth. The Labor Ministry plan would divert taxes from future retirement plans to meet current pension payments and narrow the state system’s […]

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‘Adaptation Center’ to Help Migrants Integrate

Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Natalya Krainova – November 13, 2012) Russia’s largest association of migrants opened an “adaptation center” in Moscow on Monday that will help workers from other countries learn Russian, obtain professional training and get medical insurance and bank loans. The center will help to fulfill goals set by President Vladimir Putin in late August to “secure […]

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U.S. to Be World’s Biggest Oil Producer, Overtaking Russia, Saudi Arabia By 2020 – IEA

Oil Well file photo

LONDON. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The boom in shale production will turn the United States into the world’s biggest oil producer by 2020, overtaking current leaders Russia and Saudi Arabia, the International Energy Agency said in its latest World Energy Outlook. Only a year ago the IEA was saying that Russia and Saudi Arabia would be the only candidates for […]

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Billionaire Businessman Says Putin Sent “From God”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2012) Gazprom contractor and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, 60, has said that his childhood friend President Vladimir Putin was sent to Russia “from God.” Rotenberg, a longtime judo sparring partner of Putin’s who has investments in the construction and finance industries, is ranked as Russia’s 94th wealthiest man by Forbes with a personal fortune […]

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Russia’s Q3 GDP Growth Slowest Since 2010 – Rosstat

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s third-quarter GDP expanded at the slowest rate since the country began recovering from the global financial and economic meltdown in early 2010, according to figures released by the Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat) on Monday. Russia’s economy grew by just 2.9 percent in July-September 2012 compared with the same period last year, Rosstat said. […]

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Moscow’s New English-Language Radio Station Starts Broadcasting

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Moscow’s first 24-hour English-language radio station, Moscow FM, started broadcasting on Monday. The radio station is the brainchild of the city government’s Moscow Media holding, hopes to become a must-listen-to resource on events in the capital. “Today we are opening the first English-language radio station in Moscow. I hope that this station will open […]

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Fewer Russians count on becoming rich fast – poll

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – November 11, 2012) Russians think that the greatest chance of getting rich fast today is to get an inheritance (23%). The share of people holding this opinion has grown over the years (from 17% in 2005), judging by a poll taken by Romir think-tank. In the years since the time of a similar study the number of pessimists […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia is on the verge of change, say Valdai Club experts

Map of Russia

(Russia is on the verge of change, say Valdai Club experts – Valdai Discussion Club – November 8, 2012 – http://valdaiclub.com/event/51120.html) The Valdai Club announces that a “survey of the Valdai Club international experts point to conflicting trends in the development of Russian institutions and society.” Click here to read the full article: http://valdaiclub.com/event/51120.html “The text of the report both […]

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Russian opposition leader targets corruption, mismanagement in utilities

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – November 8, 2012) Moscow, 8 November: Opposition figure and blogger Aleksey Navalnyy has announced the launch of a new project, called RosZhKKh, for fighting corruption and shortcomings in the work of utilities and municipal services companies. “It is common knowledge that ZhKKh (Russian abbreviation for utilities and municipal services) in Russia is a black hole that sucks in […]

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Think Tank Reopens Shuvalov Corruption Scandal

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 8, 2012) [think tank report here http://henryjacksonsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/HJS-The-Shuvalov-Affair-Report-4.pdf] A London-based think tank is reigniting the row over allegations of corruption against Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov with the publication of a new report Thursday. The document, produced by the Henry Jackson Society and obtained in advance of its release by The Moscow […]

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McFaul to Focus on Economic Ties

Ambassador Michael McFaul file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – November 8, 2012) “I got a little bit of sleep, but I was up pretty early,” U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul said Wednesday afternoon, shortly after his boss, President Barack Obama, declared election victory. Fatigue at first appeared to blunt his characteristic cheerfulness, but as the conversation turned to what Obama’s second term […]

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Kudrin Does Not See Way Back to Govt For Now

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 6 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister and current head of the Civil Initiatives Committee, Alexei Kudrin, is not upset with Dmitry Medvedev, who sacked him when he was president, and does not regret quitting the government. “I will say that at the moment I do not see the conditions for my return,” Kudrin said in an interview […]

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Putin Faces Anti-Migrant Tide as Opponents Tap Resentment

Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer – November 7, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opponents are looking to take advantage of a dip in his approval rating by latching on to rising anti-immigration sentiment. With the share of Russians wanting tighter immigration rules at the highest in at least a decade, Alexey Navalny, the country’s most-popular opposition […]

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Russian pundit says Magnitskiy list not to affect Russian-US ties

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Interfax – Moscow, 5 November) Russia will not be able to prevent the adoption of the so called Magnitskiy list either in the USA or in Europe, deputy head of the USA and Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Kremenyuk said. “The Magnitskiy list will certainly be adopted (in the USA – Interfax) and Europe will also […]

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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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