Duma Deputies Strike Back Over Magnitsky Act

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – Dec. 11, 2012) In a widely expected response to the passage of the U.S. Magnitsky Act, State Duma deputies on Monday introduced a bill that would make Americans suspected of mistreating Russians personae non gratae. The bill bans Americans from traveling or investing in Russia if they are deemed to have “illegally” […]

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GDP growth may slightly exceed estimate at 3.6% in 2012 – Belousov

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) – Russian Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov has forecasted that the country’s GDP may grow 3.5%-3.6% this year. “This year we are coming to 3.5-3.6%. Next year, according to fairly optimistic estimates, we will approach 4%,” he said at a Sunday meeting of Cabinet members and Kremlin administration officials with President Vladimir Putin’s election agents. The […]

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Magnitsky Bill Likely to Reopen Old Wounds

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – Dec. 10, 2012) Historical mistrust and relatively weak trade links could amplify the Magnitsky Act’s damage to U.S.-Russian relations, although Washington will likely use caution in applying sanctions to Russians suspected of human rights violations, analysts said. “In the absence of a solid background of trust and partnership, even relatively insignificant episodes […]

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39% of Russians Approve of Magnitsky Act – Poll

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti) ­ More than twice the number of Russians approve of recent US legislation imposing sanctions on Russian officials deemed to have violated human rights than disapprove, according to a nationwide poll released this week by the respected Levada Center. The center found that 39 percent of Russians fully or mostly agree with the Sergei Magnitsky […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia and Turkey: Cool pragmatism: They may disagree about Syria but Russia and Turkey keep close business relations

[Russia and Turkey: Cool pragmatism: They may disagree about Syria but Russia and Turkey keep close business relations – The Economist – Dec. 8, 2012 – click here for full article] The Economist reports on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent trip to Turkey, and its context. Russia has been siding with Syria’s Assad regime at the United Nations over sanctions,while […]

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Magnitsky Act Sparks Russian Fury

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – Dec. 7, 2012) Russia will impose a visa ban on U.S. citizens accused of human rights abuses in response to the “absurd” trade and human rights bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We will also close entry to Americans who are guilty of human rights […]

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Political Analyst Sees No Signs Of Crisis In Russia

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, 3 December) Political analyst Aleksey Mukhin believes that the authors of the Carnegie Centre’s report “The awakening of Russia” are somewhat late with their conclusions, some of which could have been partially accepted in December 2011 – March 2012. According to Mukhin, there is no reason to talk about a crisis in the country, including a […]

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Reserve Fund should be used for highways – minister

Moscow Traffic file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Russian Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov has said money from the Reserve Fund should be used to build new highways. “We need to resolve the problem of funding highway construction. I do not think we can really resolve it without using oil and gas money – our resources from the Reserve Fund to build roads. […]

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Gazprom sends first LNG tanker via Northern Sea Route

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) – The Ob River liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, chartered by the Gazprom Group (RTS: GAZP), successfully completed the world’s first LNG shipment via the Northern Sea Route on Wednesday, the Russian gas giant reported. The tanker, which departed from Norway’s Hammerfest Port on November 7, has arrived at the regasification terminal at Tobata Port in […]

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Kudrin Committee advises authorities not to irritate middle class, accelerate elite rotation

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – The Civil Initiatives Committee of former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has urged the authorities not to tighten the screws on civil society regulation. “It is necessary not to tighten the screws on the regulation of civil society, free discussion and protest actions. Such measures do nothing but radicalize protests and ruin the authorities’ hope […]

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Russians happier, better off than last year – opinion poll

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

(Interfax – Moscow, 5 December) Surveys by VTsIOM (All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre) sociologists have shown that the feeling of social well-being among Russians has increased over the last year. For example, the percentage of Russians who are satisfied with the life they lead has increased from 26 per cent in November 2011 to 40 per cent in November 2012, […]

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Balancing Russia’s contrasts: Banker Arnaud Leclercq argues a more nuanced approach is needed to understand Russia’s past and its future

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – Dec. 3, 2012) “Private banking is a business which has to be boring, to some extent ­ you need safety, security, performance, and that’s it,” Arnaud Leclercq said over coffee in the lobby of the Baltschug Kempinski hotel. “A house has to be built with walls that are thick and traditional, and so […]

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Shuvalov: Russia’s response to U.S. Magnitsky Act would not affect businessmen

Igor Shuvalov file photo

NEW YORK. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said while visiting the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday that he expected the frictions about the so-called Magnitsky Act should not affect contacts between businessmen. “As you know, Russia is preparing measures in response to the Magnitsky list. This is a political aspect of relations between […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia may change its image in bid to find more allies

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

[Russia may change its image in bid to find more allies – Russia Today – Dec. 3, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/russia-change-bid-find-128/] Russia Today writes on Russian foreign policy ambitions following an assembly of Russia’s Council for Foreign and Defence Policy. In part, Russia Today cited attendees as highlighting military spending, including conventional forces: Conference members also observed that in modern times […]

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Russia to offer substantive agenda during G20 chairmanship – Putin

G20 Summit Group Photo

(Interfax – Dec. 1, 2012) During its G20 chairmanship, Russia intends to offer a substantive agenda to its partners aimed at resolving problems facing all countries of the world. “We see the main objective of Russia’s chairmanship in concentrating the G20’s efforts on developing measures stimulating economic growth and the creation of jobs,” Putin said in a welcoming address for […]

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Russia: Debt Reduction Priority for G20 Nations

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) – The world’s developed nations should not abandon their budget consolidation and debt reduction plans, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Monday. “The majority of developed countries with a high level of debt recognize the need to have debt reduction programs,” he said at a news conference at RIA Novosti devoted to Russia’s G20 […]

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Gazprom Tops Russian ‘Dream Job’ List – Poll

Russian Gas Facility file photo

MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian state-controlled energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft, and state-run savings bank Sberbank top the list of where Russians most want to work, according to a poll published by the VTsIOM pollster on Monday. “Gazprom remains the most attractive employer for Russians. If respondents could choose a job in any large company operating on the […]

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NEWSLINK: The Illusion of a Rich Russia

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

[The Illusion of a Rich Russia – Moscow Times/Vedomosti – Dec. 3, 2012 – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/the-illusion-of-a-rich-russia/472315.html] The Moscow Times provides an English-language version of a Vedomosti editorial about perceptions and realities of wealth and poverty in Russia, holding that “Amid all of the seemingly good news, however, Russia’s poverty problem is far from conquered.” First Vedomosti recounts some of the Western […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia Day to be held at New York Stock Exchange

Igor Shuvalov file photo

[Russia Day to be held at New York Stock Exchange – Itar-Tass – Dec. 3, 2012 – Russia Day to be held at New York Stock Exchange – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/587860.html] Itar-Tass covers plans to hold a “Russia Day” conference at the New York Stock Exchange: Russia Day is to be held at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday. The […]

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NEWSLINK: Snow traps drivers for days in giant Russia traffic jam

Map of Russia

(Snow traps drivers for days in giant Russia traffic jam – Reuters – Dec. 2, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/03/uk-russia-traffic-idUSLNE8B201620121203) Reuters reports on a two-days-and-counting, 120-mile-long traffic jam on a major Russian highway resulting from heavy snow and involving thousands of vehicles: Thousands of trucks and cars have been stuck on a major highway, some for more than two days, in a […]

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Almost 80% of working-age Russians with disabilities are out of job

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Interfax – Dec. 3, 2012) Only 20 percent of working-age Russians with disabilities are employed, the Labor and Social Protection Ministry said on Monday. “Just 816,200 out of 3.39 million working-age persons with disabilities are employed. Some 2.6 million persons with disabilities or 79.7 percent do not have jobs. The rate of employed persons with disabilities is 20.3%, percent,” the […]

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No major successes in improving Russian investment climate yet, says Medvedev

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Interfax – Nov. 29, 2012) No substantial improvement in Russia’s investment climate has yet come about, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said. “Unfortunately, we have had no fundamental successes here,” Medvedev said at a Thursday government meeting at which he presented the preliminary results of a half year of cabinet of ministers activity. “The task consists in the reduction […]

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Russia Hopes Climate Change Maximizes Arctic Shipping

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Voice of America – James Brooke – Nov. 28, 2012) MOSCOW ­ Americans may have seen the downside of climate change when Hurricane Sandy bashed into New Jersey and New York City in October. Some scientists say melting Arctic ice helped to create the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Russians and Chinese, however, see an upside to ice melting in […]

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NEWSLINK: Senate fight coming over Russian human rights bill

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

(Senate fight coming over Russian human rights bill – Foreign Policy – Josh Rogin – Nov. 28, 2012 – click here for full article) ForeignPolicy.com covers the U.S. Senate’s handling of the Magnitsky Act and related trade regulation, and the question of whether to broaden its scope to human rights violators world-wide: The Senate is set to do battle over […]

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NEWSLINK: The Magnitsky Bill

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(The Magnitsky Bill: The Sources of America’s Obsession with Russia – US-Russia.org – featuring Vlad Sobell, Ron Paul, Edward Lozansky, Willism Dunkerley, Alexander Rahr, Alexandre Strokanov, Nicolai Petro,  Mark Nuckols, Patrick Armstrong, and Sergei Roy – Nov. 28, 2012 – click here for full article) US-Russia.org features remarks in Congress by Cong. Ron Paul, as well as commentary by Vlad […]

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NEWSLINK: Georgia eyes double-digit growth, renewed Russia ties

Map of Georgia

(Georgia eyes double-digit growth, renewed Russia ties – Reuters – Margarita Antidze – Nov. 26, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/26/us-georgia-economy-idUSBRE8AP0NE20121126) Reuters covers Georgia’s expressed need for increased economic growth in the face of unemployment and low per capita GDP, with one hope being that trade with Russia will play a part: Georgia’s new economy minister says his country, beset by high unemployment […]

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Medvedev vows both symmetrical and asymmetrical response to Magnitsky Act

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev thinks that the support of the Magnitsky Act by European countries is pointless and vows that Russia will respond to such a decision by the U.S. Congress. “If we speak about this act, it will invoke both symmetrical and asymmetrical reactions on our behalf. We passed all of these in […]

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Russia to Weigh Taxing Individuals on Investments, Deposits

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – Nov. 28, 2012) Russia will consider taxing individuals who earn more than 1 million rubles ($32,200) a year from financial holdings to narrow income inequality, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. “We could collect tax on additional income from wealthy citizens who have larger bank deposits and more investment income using such a mechanism,” […]

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Better Business Climate Gets New Impetus

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – Nov. 29, 2012) Business executives are urgently calling on the government to improve conditions for entrepreneurship, which they say remains massively underdeveloped because of stifling bureaucratic and administrative hurdles. If the country’s leaders do not act soon, they might put themselves in jeopardy, participants in a business conference said Wednesday. “Without […]

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Russian deputy PM says democracy depends on innovative economy

Skolkovo File Photo

(Interfax – Skolkovo, 28 November) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov has described innovative work as a priority political task because high technologies contribute to the development of democracy. “I think innovative work is a priority political task. It precedes party building, it precedes elections, it comes before everything else, because there will be no democracy without high technologies and […]

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NEWSLINK: Rostelecom Is Forever in Debt to the Kremlin

Empty Boardroom

(Rostelecom Is Forever in Debt to the Kremlin – Yulia Latynina – Moscow Times – Nov. 28, 2012 – Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/rostelecom-is-forever-in-debt-to-the-kremlin/472094.html) Yulia Latynina comments in a Moscow Times op-ed on alleged corruption and repercussions entangling Rostelecom, Marshall Capital and VTB Bank, yet another Russian scandal ending up in the […]

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USRF supporting only business, legal, educational projects in Russia – USRF chief

Map of Russia

(Interfax – November 27, 2012) The U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF), which is a U.S.-registered entity, neither can replace the defunct Russian branch of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) nor has any plans to do so, USRF’s chief executive said on Tuesday. USRF and USAID have completely different missions, Mark Pomar […]

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Russia Threatens EU With ‘Retaliation’ if No Visa Deal by 2014

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 28, 2012) The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday threatened the European Union with “retaliation” if visa-free travel is not introduced in time for the Sochi Olympics in February 2014. Anvar Azimov, the ministry’s point man on visa negotiations with the EU, said Tuesday that Moscow wants to see a breakthrough by […]

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Medvedev Assures France on WTO Behavior

WTO Logo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – November 28, 2012) Russia and France signed an agreement Tuesday on creating a council to develop economic cooperation amid growing criticism from the European Union of some measures Moscow has introduced to support local manufacturers following accession to the World Trade Organization. A protocol to establish the Business Cooperation Council was signed […]

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Putin to deliver video address Dec 1 on Russia’s presidency in G20 – newspaper

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin’s video address on December 1 will highlight Russia’s priorities as the G20’s coordinator, the daily Kommersant wrote on Tuesday. “Putin’s special video address will highlight the strategy of Russia’s presidency in this organization,” the newspaper writes. Also, a Web site will be launched on December 1 to cover Russia’s G20 presidency, it […]

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Rosy poverty picture comes under fire: Critics are questioning new estimates of the size of Russia’s middle class

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anastasia Matveyeva, Moskovskiye Novosti – November 26, 2012) Over the 2000-2012 period, the income of Russians has grown by 2.5 times. This has radically changed the country’s social structure, say two academics who presented a report at a Gaidar Readings conference in Moscow on Nov. 13: such conditions as poverty have practically disappeared and the […]

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A moveable riot: The saga of Pussy Riot has one source

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 26, 2012 – Anna Arutunyan is the politics editor of The Moscow News) I’m going to tell you a story about three pretty girls who defied the patriarchy ­ no, wait, scratch that. This is a story of deceit, betrayal and revolution. No, scratch that, too. Here’s a tale of greed, […]

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Roadmap to reform

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Ben Aris in Moscow – Business New Europe – www.bne.eu – November 27, 2012 – Ben Aris is the editor/publisher of Business New Europe) The Kremlin is scared. As the Russian economy emerges from the 2008 crisis, it is sliding smoothly and quickly into stagnation. In response, President Vladimir Putin challenged his government to implement 22 roadmaps to finally address […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to France Presse and Le Figaro

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(premier.gov.ru – November 26, 2012) Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. Question: Good afternoon. Mr Prime Minister, you plan to visit France soon, next week. We know that you had good relations with Nicolas Sarkozy. How would you assess your cooperation with the new President of France, Francois Hollande? Do you expect any changes? Dmitry Medvedev: I believe that our relations with […]

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Likelihood of external shocks that would put Russia into crisis similar to 2008 is low – MinFin

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) The likelihood of external shocks, which would threaten the Russian economy with a crisis similar to that of 2008 is low but Russia cannot control such risks and needs to be prepared for this possibility, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev told journalists on Wednesday. “We believe that the likelihood of such an external shock is very […]

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Far East Development Hinges on Branding and Diversity

File Photo of People Working on Car Amidst Siberian Woodlands and Meadows

(Howard Amos – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 21, 2012) Despite the establishment of a Far East Development Ministry in May, the area from Siberia to the Pacific coast lacks an effective administrative body to coordinate investment projects, according to Alexander Bazhenov, head of the Far East Development Fund. Decaying infrastructure, extreme weather conditions, a decreasing population and the […]

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Russian MPs Mull Potential Response To USA’s Magnitskiy Law

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(RIA Novosti – November 20, 2012) Russian MPs have put forward various proposals for how Russia should respond to the USA’s “Magnitskiy list”, such as compiling a similar list of US officials or stepping up cooperation with the USA’s opponents, state news agency RIA Novosti reported on 20 November. The House of Representatives of the US Congress approved the “Magnitskiy […]

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Making of Magnitsky List a Murky Affair

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

WASHINGTON, November 21 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) – With the Magnitsky Act moving through the US Congress, American lawmakers are making clear their intent to punish Russian officials deemed by Washington to be responsible for human rights abuses. Less clear is who will end up on this blacklist­and how. The Magnitsky bill passed Friday by the US House […]

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Rogozin Warns of New Defense Corruption Purge

Dmitry Rogozin file photo

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned on Tuesday of a new clean-out of corruption and crooked officials in the country’s arms industry, following a series of high-profile scandals in the sector. “A clean-out is inevitable,” the deputy prime minister, who is in charge of the defense industry, told Kommersant. “The pitcher goes often […]

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Capital Outflow May Hit $70 Bln Says Minister

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s capital outflow may reach $70 billion in 2012, more than the previous forecast of $60-65 billion, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said on Tuesday. “We’ll specify the figure by December. Perhaps, it will be slightly larger [than the Central Bank’s estimate of $67 billion] at $70 billion, or may be less” Klepach […]

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Poll Reveals Savings and Wealth Trends

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  November 20, 2012) The material well-being of Russians has improved over the past 10 years, and there are fewer people who barely make ends meet, according to a recent study by the Levada Center pollster. The survey polled 1,600 people in October and showed that since 2002 the number of Russians easily capable of purchasing […]

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Russia to Stay Raw Materials Based to 2030 ­- Survey

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s economy will remain primarily based on raw materials production until 2030, along with the remnants of high technologies like the nuclear and space industries inherited from the Soviet era, Rosiiskaya Gazeta reported on Tuesday, citing the latest forecast by Russian economists. The Global Strategic Survey 2030 was prepared by the Institute of World […]

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Russia’s highest-paid top managers work in state companies – Forbes

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – November 19, 2012) Russian state companies have the highest-paid top managers, according to a list published by Forbes magazine. The magazine put VTB’s chairman of the board, Andrei Kostin, on the top spot with earnings of $30 million in 2011, with $194 million spent on payments to all key managers. He is […]

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Magnitsky Act ‘Law by New Year’

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – November 19, 2012) U.S. President Barack Obama could sign the Magnitsky act into law by the end of this year, backers of the bill have said. The landmark legislation was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday. The bill would allow permanent normal trade relations with Russia and at the […]

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Moscow forestalled U.S. Magnitsky Act by its own law on NGO as foreign agents – analyst

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – Moscow forestalled the adoption of the so-called Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the U.S. by enacting the law on NGOs acting as foreign agents, which is quite painful for Washington, but it should be prepared to see a number of European Union countries considering bills analogous to the one just passed by […]

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