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Russia 110112
Basic Political Developments
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Duma panel to discuss START-3 ratification bill Wed
o Russian communists oppose new START treaty ratification - "I
propose removing the discussion of this [new START] treaty from the
agenda of the next session, because the U.S. State Department
announced yesterday that Washington does not link the new START
treaty with the issue of missile defenses," Communist MP Vladimir
Ulas said.
Russian FM meets CIS member states’ ambassadors - Moscow hosted a
traditional annual meeting of the Russian Federation's Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov with the ambassadors of the CIS member states, during a
working breakfast on Jan.11, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Tatiana Anodina press conference on the final results of the IAC technical
committee investigation
Polish air crash report released by Russia
o Russia hands Poland final plane crash report - "The final report has
been forwarded by the chairman of the technical commission to the
authorised representative of Poland via the Polish embassy in Russia,"
the Moscow-based aviation commission known by its acronym MAK
said in a statement. It did not provide further details ahead of a news
conference on the probe's findings scheduled to start at 0900 GMT.
o Russia sends Poland final presidential plane crash report
Georgian Deputy PM and Lithuanian FM discuss settling Georgian-Russian
relations - The Deputy Prime Minister's Office told Trend that during the
meeting, Baramidze focused on strengthening Lithuania's role as the country
chairing OSCE, in the process of the peaceful settlement of the GeorgianRussian relations, in order to define the essence of the problem and find ways
to solve it.
Do not politicize nuclear cooperation – Medvedev: President Dmitry
Medvedev has stated that Russian-US cooperation in nuclear sphere should
not be politicized.
o Russia nuclear firm sees export market potential - Russian nuclear
holding firm Rosatom wants to build 30 nuclear reactors abroad after
securing deals in India, Turkey and Vietnam last year, CEO Sergei
Kiriyenko said on Tuesday.
European missile shield should stipulate joint decision making - Russia's
envoy to NATO - The creation of a European missile shield should stipulate
joint decision making, while a simple sharing of defense information among
the project participants would only restrict Russia's nuclear potential, the
Russian envoy to NATO said in an interview with the Izvestia national daily.
Russian parliament to consider presidential bill liberalizing Criminal Code The amendments would give judges more leeway in their decisions and allow
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them to fine those guilty of minor crimes, rather than jailing them or
sentencing them to community work.
Putin to attend congress of Russia's Federation of Independent Trade Unions Andrei Isayev, a senior member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, may
become FNPR's new leader, a spokesman for the organization told RIA
Novosti.
Russian, German Officials Will Meet Jan. 19 to Discuss Dioxins - The
meeting will be between Sergei Dankvert, head of Rosselkhoznadzor, and
Robert Kloos, permanent state secretary at the German Federal Ministry of
Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Rosselkhoznadzor said in a
statement on its website today. The meeting follows Rosselkhoznadzor’s
decision last week to strengthen controls on pork and poultry deliveries from
Germany to Russia.
o Germany did not export contaminated food products - Russia's chief
sanitary doctor
Russia, Greece detain human traffickers - Russia and Greece have completed
a large-scale operation to thwart the activities of a criminal group. Under the
banner of a job-placement company, the criminals were trafficking girls from
the Russian Far East into sexual slavery in foreign countries.
European Court decision to throw out Ossetian cases “politicized” - The
refusal of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to consider 1,549
lawsuits against Georgia over the events of August 2008 is “unfair” and
“politicized”, said South Ossetian FM Murat Dzhioyev.
Russian most influential - The Head of the Organizing Committee of the
Sochi 2014 Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, topped the list of 25 of the most
influential figures in the Olympic movement this year, according to the
American edition of the analytical publication "Around the Rings."
Icebreakers begin to pilot factory ship to loose ice
o Worsening weather hampers rescue of ice-trapped Russian ship in
Okhotsk Sea
Russian Defense Ministry expects to end the war queue for housing in 2013
Russian sleeper agent gets lucrative state sinecure
o Russian Spy Named Adviser to Transneft Chief, Kommersant Says
o Kommersant: A spy’s choice: between life and oil - One of the
heroines in the US spy scandal, Natalia Pereverzeva, has been
employed by Transneft Kirill Melnikov
Russia Faces Pressure After Report on Graft - Russia may face international
embarrassment if it fails to fulfill its obligations to the Council of Europe’s
Group of States Against Corruption, or GRECO, in fighting graft and other
unscrupulous practices.
‘No more bride-napping’ – Chechen head
Medvedev urges prosecutors to nip extremism in the bud - Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev has called on prosecution officers to pay special attention
to quashing any manifestations of terrorism, extremism and inter-ethnic
tension in a timely manner.
Opposition protest Day of Wrath will be quarterly
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Moscow police arrests 150 people to prevent downtown rally
o Members of the failed rally at the Manege detained
o Nationalist rally halted as Moscow migrants also protest
Tomorrow in Vedomosti
o Interior Ministry Clamps Down on Coal Cartel
o Aeroflot Sacks Executives for Delays
o Chinese Fifth-Generation Fighter Takes Flight
Reuters PRESS DIGEST - Russia - Jan 12
RIA: Russian Press at a Glance, Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Medvedev Details State Downsizing - By Nikolaus von Twickel
Mavrodi’s Second Coming - The Notorious Russian Fraudster Sergei Mavrodi
Has Mounted His Hobby-Horse Once Again and Experts Say He Can Hardly
Be Stopped
Bump and Protest - Although Russia Could Be on Course for Demographic
Disaster, the Government Has Cut Incentives to Would-Be Mothers
Russian nationalists stand trial for murder - Neo-nationalists gaining ground in
Russia; Lawyer, reporter were gunned down in broad daylight
The Politics and Business of Going Green - This year will see increasingly
politicized environmental movements sprouting up around local issues, and an
alliance between green groups and businessmen to open up Russia's potential
in renewable energy — provided there are no more fires.
National Economic Trends
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Financial offences amount to $18.9 bln in 2010 - Audit Chamber
Tripling Bond Sales Spurs Foreign Push: Russia Credit (Correct)
Russian Winter Grains Were Shielded by Snow Cover, Center Says
Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions
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Rosneft, Polyus Gold, Razgulay Group: Russian Equity Preview
Russian stock market daily morning report (January 12, 2011, Wednesday)
o MIA of Russia initiated a criminal case against the coal mining
companies.
o Auto makers: AvtoVAZ upped the sale by 1.5 times
FACTBOX-Russian IPO market hoping for a bumper 2011
Russian coking coal firm KOKS plans London IPO
o Koks Group IPO set to exceed $500m
Inter RAO UES to launch share offering
Russia rail freight rose 8.8 percent in 2010
Russia's USC shipbuilder, Italy's Saipem in joint venture talks
Telvent partners with Inter-Regional Distribution Grid Company of Russia to
Install Advanced Distribution Management System
IBM to digitize records for Russian hospitals
GAZ Aims to Reach GM, VW Production Deals in Russia Next Month
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Russian oligarch increases HMV stake - Shares in HMV staged a minor rally on
Tuesday on news that Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut has raised his stake in
the troubled entertainment retailer to more than 6 per cent.
Renaissance Capital Appoints Clifford Sacks as Africa CEO
Russia’s annual inflation rate accelerated last month to 8.8 percent, the highest in
a year, the State Statistics Service said, revising its Jan. 5 estimate for price
growth of 8.7 percent. (Bloomberg)
Pump manufacturer HMS Hydraulic Machines and Systems Group is planning an
initial public share offer in London, the company said Monday, aiming to raise
about $500 million. (Reuters)
BEIJING — China will likely import 1.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from
Russia this year, up 22 percent from the 980 million kwh in 2010, China Electric
Power News reported on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP agreed to acquire equal stakes in a company that
holds licenses to develop the Messoyakha oil and gas fields in the Arctic region,
and will spend up to $18 billion to develop the deposits, according to a joint
statement issued Tuesday. (Bloomberg)
Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)
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Russian Oil Producers Halt Deliveries to Belarus, Vedomosti Says
Belarus has enough oil to last until late Jan. - paper
Ukraine Counting on EU involvement in Gas Negotiations Between Kiev and
Moscow
Gas production in Russia Reaches Pre-Crisis Levels
Aramco to buy up to 360000 tonnes of gasoline from BP and Lukoil
Gazprom
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Gazprom Neft to be operator of new Arctic oilfield
Gazprom Neft, TNK-BP to Acquire Stakes in Messoyakhaneftegaz
Gazprom may reach pre-crisis output by end 2011
Media: The rural population of Armenia abandon natural gas - As earlier
informed news agency REGNUM, deputy chairman of Gazprom, Andrei Kruglov
said that in Armenia, Belarus and Moldova continues the process of transition to
market prices. "We expect price increases in this region. And also expect to see in
these countries transition to market prices in 2011"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Full Text Articles
Basic Political Developments
Duma panel to discuss START-3 ratification bill Wed
http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15847718&PageNum=0
12.01.2011, 05.34
MOSCOW, January 12 (Itar-Tass) - The Committee on International Affairs of the State
Duma lower house of the Russian parliament, at its first meeting in the new year on
Wednesday, will consider amendments for the second reading of the START-3 Treaty
ratification bill.
In point of fact, this signifies the introduction of Russian terms and "provisos" to the new
Treaty in reply to the ratification resolution passed by the US Senate.
House Speaker Boris Gryzlov has told journalists that a ratification bill is for the first
time discussed in the State Duma according to a three readings procedure. "We have to
do this, for the US Congress adopted certain reservations concerning the text that had
been signed by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of
America," he pointed out.
Gryzlov said eleven pages of amendments to the Bill had been prepared. "The ratification
bill previously contained one clause about decision 'to ratify', whereas now another five
clauses have been added," he explained.
For his part, Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov concretized that the additional
clauses set out in detail the terms on which the new Treaty must be ratified, the powers of
the leadership of Russia and the Federal Assembly Houses, and specify exclusive points
that could prompt Russia to withdraw from the new START Treaty, and mention
possibilities for the conduct of further negotiations on other types of armament.
Kosachyov said the Committee would also suggest that the State Duma when passing the
START Treaty ratification bill in the third reading also consider two accompanying
statements -- one of them gives a Russian interpretation of the "Strategic Stability" notion
and reaffirms the interconnection between START and ABM while the other one
constitutes the parliament's address to the President of the RF on the development of the
strategic nuclear complex.
Gryzlov said the second reading of the ratification bill might be held on January 14, and
the third one on January 25. Earlier the State Duma had adopted the START-3 Treaty
ratification bill in the first reading on December 24, 2010.
The US Senate approved the Treaty on December 22. However, the American Congress
members accompanied the ratification of the Treaty with a resolution with a number of
reservations. In view of that, the State Duma decided to examine the new START Treaty
in three readings upon preparing its own amendments to the Treaty.
The START-3 Treaty was signed by the Presidents of Russia and the US in Prague in
April 2010. It stipulates that the sides cut down the aggregate number of warheads by
one-third -- down to1, 550 -- within seven years, and lower by more than a half the
ceiling for strategic delivery vehicles.
Russian communists oppose new START treaty ratification
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110112/162110003.html
Russia's Communist Party proposed on Wednesday suspending the ratification of a new
arms reduction deal with the United States over Washington's refusal to link it to the
issue of missile defense.
However, the majority of State Duma lawmakers rejected the proposal, and agreed to
continue the discussion of the ratification in the second reading.
The State Duma will consider the ratification of the treaty in the second reading on
Thursday. The Duma approved the agreement in its first reading on December 24, but is
expected to introduce several amendments to the resolution on ratification.
"I propose removing the discussion of this [new START] treaty from the agenda of the
next session, because the U.S. State Department announced yesterday that Washington
does not link the new START treaty with the issue of missile defenses," Communist MP
Vladimir Ulas said.
"This means that that any amendments adopted by the State Duma committee on foreign
affairs will have no meaning or influence whatsoever," he insisted.
"The debates on the proposal are over, the issue is closed," State Duma Speaker Boris
Gryzlov announced at the end of the discussion.
The new treaty replacing the START 1 that expired in December 2009 was signed in
Prague in April by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack
Obama.
The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550
nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.
The United States Senate ratified the new arms deal with Russia on December 22, but
added several amendments to the resolution on ratification, including the demand to build
up U.S. global missile defenses.
The Russian lawmakers are expected to introduce their own amendments to the resolution
in order to ensure the parity of the treaty.
The new strategic arms reduction agreement will come into force after ratification by
both houses of the Russian parliament.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Russian FM meets CIS member states’ ambassadors
http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1810035.html
12.01.2011 11:05
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan.12 / Trend /
Moscow hosted a traditional annual meeting of the Russian Federation's Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov with the ambassadors of the CIS member states, during a working
breakfast on Jan.11, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Urgent issues of cooperation within the Commonwealth in the context of the outcome of
Russia's presidency in the organization in 2010, as well as the tasks facing the CIS in the
coming period, were discussed.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional international organization,
as per an international agreement, designed to regulate the cooperation and relations
between the countries, which were member of the former Soviet Union earlier. CIS is not
a super-state formation and functions on a voluntary basis. The Commonwealth includes
Azerbaijan and all countries of the former Soviet Union except three Baltic countries and
Georgia.
Tatiana Anodina press conference on the final results of the IAC technical
committee investigation
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/01/12/39397192.html
Jan 12, 2011 11:30 Moscow Time
A live transmission of the press conference of the Intergovernmental Aviation Committee
(IAC) chairperson Tatiana Anodina and the chairperson of the IAC technical committee
Alexei Morozov. The final results of the IAC technical committee investigation into the
reasons behind the crash of the Polish Tu-154M outside Smolensk on April 10, 2010.
The investigation was carried out over 6 months jointly by Russian and Polish experts in
accordance with the Chicago Convention. A draft report was handed to the Polish side on
October 20, 2010.
The Tu-154M of the Polish president and members of an official delegation crashed on
April 10 outside Smolensk. Lech Kaczynski was due in Katyn at the burial site for Polish
military officers for commemorative events. All 96 people on board died in the crash,
including the Polish president, his wife and topmost members of the country’s
administration.
According to information on the investigation made public earlier, the plane’s pilots
decided to land amid thick fog and ignored system warnings about dangerous proximity
to the ground. Flight recorders indicate that other people were in the pilots’ cockpit.
The utterances that sounded in the cockpit moments before the crash suggest that the
crew would have been reprimanded if they refused to land.
12 January 2011 Last updated at 09:04 GMT
Polish air crash report released by Russia
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12170021
Russia has handed Poland its report into the Smolensk air disaster last year which killed
the Polish president and nearly 100 other people.
Without giving details, investigators in Moscow said the final version of the report into
the 10 April crash had been forwarded to Polish colleagues.
Polish officials criticised a draft version last month, describing it as negligent and riddled
with errors.
Russia's handling of the disaster had previously been widely commended.
President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others, spanning the country's military and political
elite, were killed when their airliner came down in heavy fog near the western Russian
city of Smolensk.
They had been on their way to a memorial ceremony for Poles massacred by Stalin's
secret police at Katyn during World War II.
'Negligence and mistakes'
Last month, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk described a draft of the Russian report as
"unacceptable", saying some of its conclusions were unfounded.
Without revealing details, he said it did not comply fully with the Chicago Convention
which regulates international air travel.
"This negligence and mistakes, or lack of positive reaction to what Poland has been
asking for, all these things allow us to say that some of the report's conclusions are
without foundation," he added.
In another development, Lech Kaczynski's twin brother, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw
Kaczynski, has said he doubts that the body entombed in a Polish cathedral last year is
that of his brother.
"When I saw the body that was brought back in a coffin to Poland, that person did not
look like my brother," he told reporters last month.
Russia hands Poland final plane crash report
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jRPzUCLVEw9hsAdFeizyqpbP
DGJw?docId=CNG.3f57ac8fd2bcfeaaa8079e36ef5f64bb.5a1
(AFP) – 33 minutes ago
MOSCOW — Russia on Wednesday handed to Poland the final version of a report into
the April air crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski amid claims in Warsaw
that Moscow's probe is riddled with errors.
"The final report has been forwarded by the chairman of the technical commission
to the authorised representative of Poland via the Polish embassy in Russia," the
Moscow-based aviation commission known by its acronym MAK said in a
statement.
It did not provide further details ahead of a news conference on the probe's findings
scheduled to start at 0900 GMT.
Kaczynski died with 95 others when his presidential jet crashed on April 10, 2010, as it
attempted to land in fog near the city of Smolensk in northwestern Russia.
Poland and its Soviet-era master Russia have had uneasy relations since the demise of
Communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago. Yet Poles were
struck by the level of public and official mourning in Russia following the tragedy.
But the crash and subsequent investigation have soon become highly politicised, with
Poland sharply criticising Russia's handling of the crash probe.
After initially praising Moscow's cooperation, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk
changed tack, calling the draft findings of the Russian investigation unacceptable and
riddled with errors.
Russia has stressed that it is handing over full information to Poland and has made efforts
to be open to the media. It handed Warsaw an initial 200-page report of its findings in
October.
Earlier this month Poland's ambassador to Russia Wojciech Zajaczkowski called
for Moscow to return the wreckage of its presidential plane as soon as possible.
The Polish presidential Russian-made Tupolev-154 crashed as it landed for a ceremony
commemorating the 70th anniversary of a World War II massacre of around 22,000
captured Polish officers by the Soviet secret police.
To further add to tensions surrounding the probe, Kaczynski's twin brother and ex-prime
minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he doubted that a body entombed in a Polish cathedral
was that of his brother.
Russia sends Poland final presidential plane crash report
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110112/162109747.html
The Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) has sent Poland a final report of the deadly
plane crash that killed then Polish President Lech Kaczynski in April 2010.
The details of the investigation, which came under criticism by Polish Prime Minister
Donald Tusk in December, are expected to be revealed at a press conference in Moscow
later on Wednesday.
Tusk described the investigation as "unacceptable," saying that some of the conclusions it
had made were "without foundation."
Polish cabinet spokesman Pawel Gras said Tusk would not cut short his holiday in the
Italian Dolomites to read the report.
Poland's leading investigator, Edmund Klich, said he doubted all of Poland's comments
on the report had been adopted by the Russian side, since they would have taken weeks to
consider and were only handed over in mid-December.
Kaczynski and other Polish dignitaries were on their way to a memorial ceremony in
honor of Polish officers killed by Soviet secret police when their plane crashed in thick
fog on April 10. All 96 people on board were killed.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Georgian Deputy PM and Lithuanian FM discuss settling Georgian-Russian
relations
http://en.trend.az/news/politics/1810065.html
12.01.2011 11:31
Georgia, Tbilisi, Jan.12 / Trend N. Kirtskhalia /
Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze, during his official visit to Vilnius,
met the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis.
The Deputy Prime Minister's Office told Trend that during the meeting, Baramidze
focused on strengthening Lithuania's role as the country chairing OSCE, in the process of
the peaceful settlement of the Georgian-Russian relations, in order to define the essence
of the problem and find ways to solve it.
Military actions were launched in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in Aug.
2008. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali, with Russian troops later occupying the city.
The Russian armed forces drove the Georgian military back into Georgia proper moving
towards Tbilisi. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on
Aug. 26 and established diplomatic ties with the secessionist states on Sept. 9, 2008.
Today, Baramidze will hold bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister, Defense Minister
and Parliamentary Vice-Speaker of Lithuania, as well as attend the events to mark the
20th anniversary of the Day of the Defenders of Freedom.
Do not politicize nuclear cooperation – Medvedev
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/01/12/39378866.html
Jan 12, 2011 00:59 Moscow Time
President Dmitry Medvedev has stated that Russian-US cooperation in nuclear sphere
should not be politicized.
On Tuesday the president and head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko reported to President
Medvedev that there had been an exchange of notes, which ended two years of work on
the ratification of the agreement between Russia and the United States in the nuclear
field. He stressed that the so-called "123 Agreement" opens the way for cooperation in
this field. This is important from an economic point of view, since Russia, under current
contracts, provides the U.S. with about 40 percent of its fuel requirements for nuclear
power plants. Kiriyenko said that Rosatom now has assets in the U.S. and that on the 20th
of December Rosatom completed the delivery of the first ton of uranium on U.S.
territory.
"That was a job well done. However, the main thing is that it should not be politicized,
and that it is approached as a business," said President Medvedev.
Russia nuclear firm sees export market potential
http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-54089520110111
2:33am IST
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian nuclear holding firm Rosatom wants to build 30 nuclear
reactors abroad after securing deals in India, Turkey and Vietnam last year, CEO Sergei
Kiriyenko said on Tuesday.
"We estimate the potential market for us at 28 reactors inside the country and another 30
abroad," Kiriyenko told President Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting in the Kremlin.
Russia retains a competitive edge in the nuclear power industry and Medvedev has made
the sector's development one of the priorities in his drive to modernise the economy.
Kiriyenko said he saw export orders for the giant corporation, which controls all aspects
of nuclear power in Russia from uranium mining to reactor construction, rising 50
percent to $30 billion in 2011.
Russia signed a deal with Turkey in May 2010 to build the country's first nuclear power
plant and plans to build 18 reactors in India.
Many emerging economies are seeking to meet their growing energy needs without
increasing their dependency on hydrocarbons.
Russia has built and is supplying the fuel for Iran's only nuclear power plant, Bushehr,
which is due start generating electricity in the coming months.
Kiriyenko told Medvedev that under the contract with Turkey Rosatom will for the first
time own a nuclear power station on the territory of another country.
"This is a truly unique contract. It means that we have come to Turkey for 100 years to
come because it includes construction, 60-70 years of operations, fuel supplies,"
Kiriyenko said.
Kiriyenko said a number of other countries were interested in similar contracts with
Rosatom but did not provide any details.
He said Rosatom profits rose 50 percent to 60 billion roubles ($1.96 billion) in 2010
while power output rose by over 4 percent.
(Writing by Gleb Bryanski)
European missile shield should stipulate joint decision making - Russia's envoy to
NATO
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110112/162107128.html
The creation of a European missile shield should stipulate joint decision making, while a
simple sharing of defense information among the project participants would only restrict
Russia's nuclear potential, the Russian envoy to NATO said in an interview with the
Izvestia national daily.
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate in the creation of a joint missile defense shield in
Europe during a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Lisbon in November last year. The
parties agreed to formulate terms for missile defense cooperation by June 2011.
"Russia has proposed not to create two different systems that would exchange
information. This would not be a European missile defense shield but a system aimed at
deterring Russia's nuclear potential under the guise of protection against Iranian
missiles," Dmitry Rogozin told Izvestia.
That is why, he said, the deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, Col. Gen. Valery
Gerasimov, proposed the creation of a united European missile defense system during a
December meeting of the NATO-Russia Council's working group on missile defense.
This full-fledged system, he went on, should include joint centers for establishing threats
and be based on joint decisions.
"Each side will have its own button to launch operative [missile] systems, but decisions
on their application should be made jointly," Rogozin said.
NATO and Russia's defense ministers should draw up a common vision of the missile
defense architecture in Europe by March and deliver a preliminary report on NATORussia cooperation in the sphere in June, he said.
Earlier, Rogozin said Moscow assumed that "each side will have its own missile defense
system, but they will cooperate, which means that each side will be responsible for its
own security sector" in order to prevent any possible attacks against the other side.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Russian parliament to consider presidential bill liberalizing Criminal Code
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110112/162106869.html
The lower house of the Russian parliament will on Wednesday consider in the first
reading a presidential bill that would reduce punishments for minor offenses.
President Dmitry Medvedev submitted the bill introducing changes to Russia's Criminal
Code in late November last year.
The amendments would give judges more leeway in their decisions and allow them to
fine those guilty of minor crimes, rather than jailing them or sentencing them to
community work.
"The changes would not affect Article 105 of the Criminal Code regulating punishments
for killing, as well as crimes against human freedom, honor and decency, against minors,
population health, public morality, and certainly against the foundations of the
constitutional order and state security," Vladimir Gruzdev, the first deputy head of the
State Duma committee on legislation, told RIA Novosti.
In his last year's address to the Federal Assembly, the president called for a wider use of
fines as punishment for crimes not related to violence. He also said that judges should not
perceive the maximum possible punishment for crimes as the only option.
On January 1, a law prohibiting the imprisonment of those suspected in tax evasion came
into force in Russia.
In April, Medvedev signed into law amendments to legislation on economic crimes
intended to increase the use of bail for suspects awaiting trial and halt the abuse of the
system, where officials attempt to pressure suspects by keeping them in pretrial detention
for extended periods. As a result, the number of arrests in Russia decreased by 20 percent
in the first half of 2010.
Medvedev, who portrays himself as a young and technologically savvy leader, is seeking
to improve the economic environment in the country and create incentives for domestic
businesses to switch to a knowledge-based and innovative economy.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Putin to attend congress of Russia's Federation of Independent Trade Unions
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110112/162106522.html
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will take part in the VII Congress of Russia's
Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FNPR) on Wednesday, the Russian
government's press service said.
"The forthcoming congress is expected to summarize the results of FNPR's activities in
the period that followed the previous congress (in November 2006), to consider the
strategy and tactics of trade unions in advocating workers' labor rights and socioeconomic interests. During the congress, a range of personnel and organizational issues
will also be considered, and the FNPR's secretary general and chairman will be elected,"
the press service said in a statement.
Andrei Isayev, a senior member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, may become
FNPR's new leader, a spokesman for the organization told RIA Novosti.
Isayev, who currently occupies the position of FNPR's deputy chairman, suggested that
the organization's current head, Mihkail Shmakov, should remain in his office and said he
would withdraw his candidacy, proposed by one of the FNPR's local branches, if
Shmakov decides to run in the elections.
Speaking about FNPR's goals, Isayev said that first of all, it should assure close
cooperation between trade unions and employers in order to prevent violations of
workers' rights, including the illegal extension of the working week and salary cuts.
The FNPR, created in 1990, unites 49 all-Russian trade unions and has 25 million
members, according to the government's press service.
In September last year, Putin attended a meeting dedicated to the organization's 20th
anniversary, during which he stressed the necessity of improving workers' safety across
Russia and toughening punishment for breaking the country's labor law.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Russian, German Officials Will Meet Jan. 19 to Discuss Dioxins
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aie20j8o5y6I
By Marina Sysoyeva
Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Russian and German agricultural regulators will meet on Jan. 19
following the discovery of excessive levels of dioxins in some agricultural feedstuffs,
according to Russian regulator Rosselkhoznadzor.
The meeting will be between Sergei Dankvert, head of Rosselkhoznadzor, and Robert
Kloos, permanent state secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture
and Consumer Protection, Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement on its website today. The
meeting follows Rosselkhoznadzor’s decision last week to strengthen controls on pork
and poultry deliveries from Germany to Russia.
To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow
[email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at
[email protected]
Last Updated: January 11, 2011 05:50 EST
Germany did not export contaminated food products - Russia's chief sanitary
doctor
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110112/162106060.html
The German agriculture ministry said it had not exported products believed to be
contaminated with dioxins, Russia's chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko said.
Last week, German sanitary authorities discovered dangerous levels of dioxins in
domestic livestock and bird feed, forcing Russia's agricultural watchdog to strengthen
monitoring of food products of animal origin imported from Germany and some other EU
countries.
"This animal feed was not supplied to other countries," Onishchenko told RIA Novosti,
quoting a report provided by the German ministry.
On Friday, the German authorities banned the sale of products from more than 4,700
farms because of fears eggs and meat may be contaminated with dioxins.
"As of today, part of those farms have been reopened after undergoing control
procedures," the sanitary doctor said.
Experts have said the closure of farms and a ban on product sales may cost Germany
about 100 million euros (over $129 million).
The European Union says that although the dioxin levels in affected eggs are five times
the legal level, a human would have to consume vast amounts of them for his health to be
affected.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Russia, Greece detain human traffickers
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/01/12/39383357.html
Jan 12, 2011 09:07 Moscow Time
Russia and Greece have completed a large-scale operation to thwart the activities of a
criminal group.
Under the banner of a job-placement company, the criminals were trafficking girls from
the Russian Far East into sexual slavery in foreign countries.
A representative of the Russian Interior Ministry has reported that charges have been
presented to two residents of Khabarovsk and one of Moscow, with searches being
carried out at the company’s office in central Khabarovsk and the apartments of the
suspects.
The Interior Ministry official also relayed information from Greece about 19 people –
citizens of Greece and Russia – being detained on charges of human trafficking,
following a special operation.
European Court decision to throw out Ossetian cases “politicized”
http://rt.com/politics/court-ossetia-georgia/
Published: 11 January, 2011, 16:33
Edited: 11 January, 2011, 20:51
The refusal of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to consider 1,549 lawsuits
against Georgia over the events of August 2008 is “unfair” and “politicized”, said South
Ossetian FM Murat Dzhioyev.
The cases were filed by a group of over 3,300 Russian and South Ossetian peacekeepers
over the violations of the European Convention of Human Rights during the Georgian
attack on South Ossetia in August 2008. On Monday, the Court ruled to strike out the
lawsuits over a failure, as it explained, by legal representatives of the applicants to supply
additional information.
Commenting on the matter, the South Ossetian Foreign Minister said that the decision
indicates the body’s “disrespect of human rights in general”. It is “politicized” and
aimed at “closing eyes to crimes committed by [Georgian President] Saakashvili’s clique
against the humanity on the whole and, particularly, the citizens of South Ossetia and
Russian peacekeepers,” Murat Dzhioyev told South Ossetian news agency, RES.
Besides that, it is an attempt to “repudiate” conclusions made in an EU-sponsored report.
Written by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini with the help of 30 European experts, the
report stated that it was Georgia who launched an attack against South Ossetia. Dzhioyev
pointed out that such “irrational” attitudes of European bodies to Georgia and his republic
are quite common, which cannot help to strengthen peace in the Caucasus region.
“What would happen to Europe, if after the Second World War, similar excuses were
used to wreck the Nuremberg trials?” the South Ossetian Foreign Minister wondered.
Meanwhile, across the border, the reaction to the news was completely the opposite.
“The present decision of the European Court of Human Rights once again underscores
the fact that applications against Georgia regarding August 2008 Russia-Georgia War
are without sound legal basis,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
All the dropped lawsuits were represented before the Court by three advocated from
Russia’s North Ossetian Republic. Having received no response to its request for
information, sent on two separate occasions in 2010 to the applicants’ legal
representatives, the Court decided to join and strike out 1,549 of the 3,300 cases
belonging to the group, the ECHR press release said.
Earlier on Monday, South Ossetia’s commissioner for human rights, David Sanakoyev
told Interfax that he believed the decision was unfair. "I am studying the issue at the
moment. But I can already say that the European court's decision is unfair toward the
citizens who suffered the fierce aggression staged by Georgia in August 2008," he said.
Sergey Markov, Russian State Duma deputy and Director of the Moscow-based Institute
for Political Studies, said the ruling “is juridical trickery and a fairly politicized and
obviously anti-Russian stance.” Speaking to Interfax agency, the MP added that the
court’s refusal to hear the cases justifies the war crimes committed by the Saakashvili
regime.
"The Council of Europe has long been trying to build a supreme judicial body
represented by the Strasburg Court, but those efforts are somehow being hampered by
the court's behavior," Markov noted.
© Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005 - 2011. All rights reserved.
Russian most influential
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/01/12/39379212.html
Jan 12, 2011 04:03 Moscow Time
The Head of the Organizing Committee of the Sochi 2014 Olympics, Dmitry
Chernyshenko, topped the list of 25 of the most influential figures in the Olympic
movement this year, according to the American edition of the analytical publication
"Around the Rings."
Chernyshenko’s ranking increased by 16 points over last year due to the asctions of the
Olympic committee . This is the first time that a Russian has risen to the top of the
"Golden 25", having received more than a third of the votes.
The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee Scott Blackman finished second, and the third
position was won by the International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
Icebreakers begin to pilot factory ship to loose ice
http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15847774&PageNum=0
12.01.2011, 06.22
VLADIVOSTOK, January 12 (Itar-Tass) - The icebreakers Krasin and Admiral Makarov
on Wednesday morning began to pilot the fishing factory ship Sodruzhestvo to a loose ice
area. The factoryship has been trapped in the ice in the Sakhalin Gulf of the Sea of
Okhotsk 11-12 miles off the Khabarovsk Terirtory shoreline.
Weather in the area of the rescue operation in the Sea of Okhotsk is expected sharply to
deteriorrate in the coming two days: wind velocity is expected to increase and visibility
get limited. This may greatly hamper the pilotage of ships across the ice, Tatyana
Kulikova, head of the press center of the Far Eastern sea shipping company, has told ItarTass.
On Tuesday, the icebreakers left the refrigerator ship Bereg Nadezhdy (Shore of Hope) in
a relatively safe area and returned to rescue the Sodruzhestvo. It took them 12 hours to
get to the ice-trapped factory ship. They approached it on the night from Tuesday to
Wednesday.
"The operation is proceeding with difficulty: the factory ship has large dimensions: 180
metres long and 20 metres high. It is very difficult to take it in tow. The icebreaker
Admiral Makarov is busy breaking up ice to trench a channel while the higher-powered
icebreaker Krasin will pilot the factory ship through it," Kulikova said.
The icebreakers are to lead the factory ship to the area where the Bereg Nadezhdy is
waiting, and then the caravan of the ships will proceed on their way to the safe area
where the icebreaker Magadan and the tanker Victoria are waiting to transfer fuel to the
icebreakers. The refueling operation will possibly continue for several days.
Worsening weather hampers rescue of ice-trapped Russian ship in Okhotsk Sea
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110112/162107473.html
Meteorologists have predicted that the weather will worsen sharply in the next two days
in Russia's Far East Sea of Okhotsk, where a rescue of an ice-trapped Russian fishery
ship is under way.
The Sodruzhestvo mother fishery ship, with 348 crew members on board, remains
trapped in two-meter-thick ice in the Sea of Okhotsk since December 31. It got stuck
together with four other ships, carrying all together more than 400 people, three of whom
were later released by the Krasin and the Admiral Makarov icebreakers.
"In the next two days, winds are predicted to strengthen and visibility to lower," a
spokeswoman for Russia's Far East Shipping Company said.
The Krasin icebreaker arrived on Tuesday at the site where the Sodruzhestvo ship is stuck
and is now trying to take the vessel in tow, the spokeswoman said. The distance between
the trapped ship and open waters is about 100 nautical miles, he added.
The Krasin and the Admiral Makarov icebreakers were first to have rescued the other
stuck vessel, the Bereg Nadezhdy refrigerator ship, but changed their plans due to
weather conditions, setting course for the Sodruzhestvo. They left the Bereg Nadezhdy,
who has 35 people on board, in a safe area, and will later move toward clear waters in a
single-file convoy of four vessels.
Freeing the Sodruzhestvo is considered to be the most difficult task as the Admiral
Makarov and the Krasin would have to coordinate their efforts to clear a wide canal in
thick ice to allow the wide-body vessel to reach open waters.
VLADIVOSTOK, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
12.01.11 10:00
Russian Defense Ministry expects to end the war queue for housing in 2013
http://www.interfax-russia.ru/main.asp?id=202662
GOOGLE TRANSLATION
January 12 Interfax-Russia.ru - all among the troops, needing permanent housing, will be
completely eliminated in 2013.
"In the years 2011-2013 will be completed providing permanent housing for all military
personnel, acknowledged needing to 2013 inclusive. In fact, it would mean the
elimination of the queue for permanent housing and to upgrade to the planned provision
of military apartments in the year of acquisition of these rights" - said in a released by
materials on the activities undertaken by the Ministry of Defense to provide housing for
military personnel.
They noted that, pursuant to orders of the president of the Russian Federation Ministry of
Defense in 2009-2010 was to provide permanent housing for not less than 90.7 thousand
beskvartirnyh troops. Number of purchased flats in this period amounted to
approximately 98.5 million (in 2009 - 45,6 thousand apartments in 2010 - about 52.9
thousand apartments).
In 2011-2013 is planned for about 77 thousand apartments for permanent residence of
military personnel and to complete the software waiting shelter.
Russian sleeper agent gets lucrative state sinecure
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110112/162108815.html
Natalia Pereverzeva, a.k.a. Patricia Mills, one of the 11 Russian sleeper agents exposed in
the United States last summer, has become the second of the group to receive a highranking post in a state-run company, the Kommersant paper said on Wednesday.
Pereverzeva, who was a housewife when she lived in the United States, has been made an
aide to the president of state pipeline operator Transneft.
Ten of the agents were sent back to Russia in July in return for four U.S. spies in the
biggest spy swap since the Cold War. They received unspecified state honors from
President Dmitry Medvedev in October.
Andrei Bezrukov, a.k.a. Donald Heathfield, another member of the spy ring, was
appointed advisor to the director of Russian oil giant Rosneft in October.
But it is Anna Chapman, the glamorous femme fatale of the group, who has been getting
the most attention.
She is now leader of Molodaya Gvardiya (Young Guard), the youth wing of Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.
Chapman has made the headlines several times since she was deported in July, posing for
Russian men's magazines and becoming a representative of a Moscow bank.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Russian Spy Named Adviser to Transneft Chief, Kommersant Says
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aavmvB_G3i.Q
By Ilya Arkhipov
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Russian spy Natalia Pereverzeva was hired by pipeline monopoly
OAO Transneft as an adviser on international projects to Chief Executive Officer Nikolai
Tokarev, Kommersant reported.
Pereverzeva lived in the U.S. as Patricia Mills before she was deported last July with nine
other members of what the U.S. Justice Department called a “deep-cover” spy ring, the
Moscow- based newspaper said today. Igor Dyomin, a Transneft spokesman, said he
couldn’t comment on company employees.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, promised to provide jobs and
“cheerful, bright living” for the returned agents, Kommersant reported.
Fondservisbank, a Moscow-based investor in aerospace and high-technology project,
hired another ring member Anna Chapman as an adviser in October, while oil producer
OAO Rosneft hired Andrei Bezrukov, who lived in the U.S. as Donald Heathfield,
Kommersant said.
To contact the reporters on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at
[email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Willy Morris at [email protected]
Last Updated: January 12, 2011 01:14 EST
Kommersant: A spy’s choice: between life and oil
http://rt.com/politics/press/kommersant/us-spy-scandal-pereverzeva/en/
Published: 12 January, 2011, 06:18
Edited: 12 January, 2011, 06:22
One of the heroines in the US spy scandal, Natalia Pereverzeva, has been employed by
Transneft Kirill Melnikov
Russian spies, who were arrested last summer in the United States, continue to be
employed – a second participant in the loud scandal has already found a job in a stateowned company.
Kommersant learned that, following Andrey Bezruky, who, last autumn, became
Rosneft’s presidential advisor on international projects, Natalia Pereverzeva (a.k.a
Patricia Mills) was appointed to a similar position in Transneft in December. According
to Kommersant’s sources, Transneft decided to take the initiative and offer Ms.
Pereverzeva a job.
Sources, close to Transneft informed Kommersant that, starting in December, the duties
of foreign economic advisor to the company’s president, Nikolay Tokarev, are being
performed by Natalia Pereverzeva, who resided in the US under the name of Patricia
Mills. She was one of the 11 Russians who were arrested in July of 2010 on espionage
charges. Transneft refused to issue an official commentary yesterday.
What exactly Patricia Mills and her husband Michael Zottoli (Mikhail Kutzik) did in the
United States is unclear. They were detained in early July in Arlington, Washington,
where they resided together with their small children. During the arrest, police seized
fake passports and $100,000 in cash, which were stored in a safety deposit box at a local
bank. In court, Patricia Mills and Michael Zottoli were the first detainees to admit that
their real names were Russian, Natalia Pereverzeva and Mikhail Kutzik, and that their
relatives reside in Russia.
According to global press reports, Kutzik came to the US in 2001, and Pereverzeva in
2003. Initially, they lived in Seattle where they attended the University of Washington.
Kutzik worked in various places – as an accountant for a telecommunications company
and a car salesman. Meanwhile, Pereverzeva was raising their child. The family moved to
Arlington after Kutzik lost his job.
The US authorities accused the couple of performing intelligence work for Russia at least
since the year 2004. Representatives of the American intelligence agencies said that
Pereverzeva and Kutzik received coded radio transmissions from a high-rise building in
Seattle. During the house search, “random numbers” were discovered in the apartment,
which could have been used to decode the messages. All of the persons detained in the
United States were swapped in the Vienna Airport for Russians: Igor Sutyagin, Sergey
Skripal, Aleksandr Zaporozhsky, and Gennady Vasilenko, who were serving a sentence
after being convicted of spying for the United States.
After returning to Russia, the spies were given attention on the highest level. They were
welcomed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who promised them “a bright and happy
future”, and joined them in singing the song “What Motherland Begins With”. In early
fall, the spies were personally greeted and awarded by the country’s President, Dmitry
Medvedev. Kommersant’s sources say that some received the Order of Courage, and
others a higher award – Order for Services to the Fatherland, IV degree. Meanwhile, it
was underlined on the highest level that 10 of the participants in the summer’s spy
scandal are not guilty in failing their mission – doing intelligence work for Russia. The
country’s president called them “talented adventurists” and noted that exposure – is a
result of betrayal. Kommersant’s sources in the Kremlin noted that the process of
employment is being handled on the highest level.
The first to experience “a bright and happy future” was Anna Chapman, who, after
returning to Moscow, had repeatedly appeared on glossy magazine covers and posted
candid pictures on her Facebook page, which enjoyed immense popularity. Meanwhile, in
October, Ms. Chapman became FondServiceBank President Aleksandr Volovnik’s
advisor with no fixed office hours. And in late December, Anna Chapman was admitted
into the governing body of the United Russia Party’s Young Guard.
In October, Andrey Bezrukov (Donald Heathfield) was appointed to the position of
advisor on international project to Eduard Khudainatov, president of Rosneft.
Kommersant’s sources specified that Mr. Bezrukov was employed with the company “as
per orders from above”. The company is currently going through a restructuring process,
in the course of which there are plans to create an international department, sources close
to Rosneft told Kommersant. They are not excluding the possibility that, in the near
future, it may be headed by Andrey Bezrukov.
The Rosneft leadership representatives say that they did not go into the details of Mr.
Bezrukov’s biography during the hiring process, but are quite happy with his work.
Meanwhile, Andrey Bezrukov has some experience in managing an international
business. Starting in 2000, while in the US, he worked as partner with Global Partners
Inc., whose clients included such companies as Alstom, Boston Scientific, General
Electric and T-Mobile. And in 2006, Mr. Bezrukov launched his own company – Future
Map Strategic Advisory Services LLC, which provided software designed to account for
expected events as well as risks and emerging opportunities related to these events, to
governments, enterprises, and international organizations. It had branch offices in the
United States, Paris, and Singapore.
Kommersant’s sources, close to Transneft, argue that the initiative to hire Natalia
Pereverzeva did not come from the country’s leadership, but from the company itself.
They did not specify as to why their final choice was Pereverzeva, who was a simple
homemaker in the United States. However, one of Kommersant’s interlocutors noted that
she is highly professional and “even has military awards”. Though, she has yet to appear
at Transneft.
Kommersant’s source in the apparatus of Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who was
previously involved with the security forces, says that there is nothing unusual in the
appointment of the participants in the spy scandal in state-owned companies. “They did
their job well, we should be proud of them, they fully deserve their assignments,” he
says. Meanwhile, Kommersant’s interlocutor does not rule out the possibility that other
spies will be appointed to similar positions in state-owned companies.
In her years of living in the United States, Ms. Pereverzeva and her colleagues have
gained an understanding of the workings of international business, acquired an
exceptional knowledge of the English language, and made certain contacts, says Grigory
Okun, managing partner of Winner Partners. However, he adds, this experience could be
called for without any harm to Transneft’s reputation only in its Moscow office. But
Aleksey Kokin from Uralsib says that it is highly unlikely that Transneft’s foreign
economic activity will benefit from Ms. Pereverzeva’s work, considering that the
appointment should be regarded “simply as a sign of respect”.
© Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005 - 2011. All rights reserved.
Russia Faces Pressure After Report on Graft
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russia-faces-pressure-after-report-ongraft/428349.html
12 January 2011
By Irina Filatova and Khristina Narizhnaya
Russia may face international embarrassment if it fails to fulfill its obligations to the
Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption, or GRECO, in fighting graft
and other unscrupulous practices.
A report made public in December said Russia carried out just over a third of the group’s
26 recommendations.
The nine obligations that Russia fulfilled include establishing an anti-corruption strategy,
improving law enforcement coordination and the recruitment of prosecutors, ethics
training and establishing guidelines for tax authorities.
Comprehensively criminalizing corruption and creating effective punishments for
offenders are the two recommendations that were not at all implemented.
The rest of the proposals are considered partially implemented.
Yelena Panfilova, head of Transparency International, said that while failure to stamp out
corruption will not lead to conflict between Russia and Europe, it could result in
international disgrace if the country has to explain to the Council of Europe why the
obligations were not met.
“The arrow will pierce the heart of the great empire,” Panfilova said.
GRECO said Russia should implement all the recommendations it has partially fulfilled
or hasn't fulfilled at all.
“We expect further progress to be reported within 18 months,” said Bjorn Janson, deputy
executive secretary of GRECO.
Russia, which is a GRECO member, is obliged to report how the recommendations are
being implemented, but “GRECO isn’t telling [the country's officials] what they should
do,” he said by telephone from Strasbourg.
Janson added, however, that if any country refused to fulfill the organization's
recommendations it could be theoretically expelled.
Russia is working in close cooperation with the international agencies to fight against
corruption, said Alexei Volkov, head of the State Duma's commission on anti-corruption
legislation.
Russia has ratified two international conventions to fight corruption, including the United
Nations Convention against Corruption and the Council of Europe Criminal Law
Convention on Corruption, and has amended the domestic legislation in line with these
conventions, Volkov told The Moscow Times.
He said, however, that the country still should “deeply analyze” some proposed measures
and “see how they will work in Russia taking into account our culture and traditions.”
“It's a matter of the future. We'll be discussing it. The work is underway, because the
level of corruption is high,” Volkov said.
Georgy Satarov, president of Indem Foundation, said the country faces problems
enforcing not only international obligations, but even domestic laws, including the
Constitution.
Panfilova of Transparency International said Russia has a long way to go before
corruption can be effectively stamped out.
She cites the court system that mostly serves the state and the lack of a concept of
conflict of interest, among other things.
“It might take years,” Panfilova said.
The Justice Ministry, which is in charge of fighting corruption, didn't respond to the
request sent by The Moscow Times on Tuesday.
‘No more bride-napping’ – Chechen head
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/01/12/39383944.html
Jan 12, 2011 09:35 Moscow Time
The head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has demanded the full eradication of the bride
kidnapping tradition, following an attempted kidnapping of a girl at the end of December
in one of the country’s villages.
As a result, the head of the village administration and the Imam of the local mosque lost
their posts. Kadyrov was outraged that everyone in the area knew about the planned
kidnapping, but no one of administrative or law enforcement authority did anything about
it.
The Chechen leader stressed that his country will “once and for all eradicate the
phenomenon of bride kidnapping from our society”.
Medvedev urges prosecutors to nip extremism in the bud
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/01/12/39410870.html
Jan 12, 2011 12:03 Moscow Time
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called on prosecution officers to pay special
attention to quashing any manifestations of terrorism, extremism and inter-ethnic tension
in a timely manner.
In his greetings on occasion of the Day of the Prosecution Worker, the president stressed
that the efficiency of the work of these public servants largely determines people’s safety
and security, and ensures the dependable protection of their rights and interest.
January 12, 2011 7:45
Opposition protest Day of Wrath will be quarterly
http://www.interfax.ru/news.asp?id=172695
GOOGLE TRANSLATION
Moscow. January 12. Interfax - The organizers of the opposition protest the "Day of
Wrath" decided to abandon the practice of monthly carry it out.
"We are changing the format of our shares, and decided to abandon them the 12 day of
each month. From now on, the shares will be held every quarter or every two or three
months", - told Interfax that "the coordinator of the opposition movement Left Front
Sergei Udaltsov.
According to him, the opposition and abandon the rally opposite the town hall of the
capital, citing the fact that their new demands would be addressed by federal authorities.
"Our demands will no longer touch sensitive issues in Moscow. For the most part remain
the same requirements, but already, not to the capital, and the federal authorities," - said
Sergey Udaltsov. He explained that the main requirement will continue to be the election
of governors and mayors.
"At the expense of the venue we have not made a final decision, but for obvious reasons
they will not be Tverskaya Square" - he said.
S. Udaltsov said that immediate action plan to carry out the opposition on February 12.
"In accordance with the law of the allotted period, we will serve notice on that date" - a
spokesman said.
Last year the opposition for several months trying to hold a protest called "Day of
Wrath," but every time the city authorities have denied them the harmonization activities,
and police detained members of unauthorized actions.
Moscow police arrests 150 people to prevent downtown rally
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-01/12/c_13686094.htm
2011-01-12 02:59:45
MOSCOW, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Moscow police has detained about 150 people, mostly
young, on Tuesday evening in the downtown Manezh Square near Kremlin, in an effort
to prevent a planned nationalist protest, according to local media reports.
"All of them were detained while coming from the Okhotny Ryad metro station to
Manezh Square," said a police source as quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.
One of the detained was Dmitry Dyomushkin, leader of an illegal nationalist organization
called Slavic Union.
According to the RIA Novosti news agency, radical nationalists had planned a December
11 Movement rally named after the massive riots in the same place by nationalists and
football mobs last month.
The rally claiming "Russia for Russians only" was scheduled for 7 p.m. Moscow time
(1600 GMT) Tuesday at the Manezh Square.
Prior to the planned rally, Moscow police have cordoned off Manezh Square and the
neighboring Red Square, barring all entrances. Heavy security forces were also deployed
at the site.
The nearby Okhotny Ryad underground shopping center, which usually closes at 10 p.m.
Moscow time (1900 GMT), had been closed some 3.5 hours earlier Tuesday. The GUM
shopping mall on the Red Square, however, remained open.
Moscow city police spokesman Viktor Biryukov only confirmed the arrests of 10 people.
"At the moment it's difficult to say how many exactly have been arrested. It can be said
that about 10 people have been arrested and sent to police stations in the central part of
Moscow," said the spokesman as cited by the Interfax news agency.
He meanwhile did not specify the reasons behind such arrests, saying all might be clear
on Wednesday.
"The police are on alert, the entire city is under control," he added.
The issue of race hate violence has drawn wide attention in Russia recently. Last month,
two massive riots broke out in downtown Moscow ignited by some conflicts between
ethnic Russians and internal migrants.
www.rg.ru, 08:42
Members of the failed rally at the Manege detained
http://www.rg.ru/2011/01/12/miting-anons.html
Suspects in the organization of possible unrest in the Manege Square detained about 10
people, said on the air news channel "Russia 24" the head of management information,
the Moscow police Viktor Biryukov.
The police officers tightened security in the region of the Manege Square. "This was done
in connection with the received operational information about the alleged upcoming
disturbances and provocations," - said the law enforcement bodies of the capital.
Earlier, a law enforcement source informed about the detention in order to prevent about
100 people at the exit of the metro Okhotny Ryad.
In addition, at 3.5 hours before the mall closed Okhotny Ryad, which is usually open
until 22:00. Administration handsfree asks visitors to leave the shop, explaining that the
center shut down for technical reasons.
Nationalist rally halted as Moscow migrants also protest
http://themoscownews.com/local/20110112/188325860.html?referfrommn
by Andy Potts at 12/01/2011 10:57
As a heavy police presence closed off a swathe of central Moscow on Tuesday night,
there was confusion over a second protest staged by angry migrant workers.
The area around Manezhnaya Ploshchad and the Okhotny Ryad shopping mall was
closed down by riot police in the early evening after reports of renewed nationalist rallies
to mark the Dec. 11 riots.
Police reported a number of arrests – including the leader of banned hardline movement
Slavyansky Soyuz Dmitry Demushkin – as the newly-formed Dvizheniye 11 Dekabrya
(Dec. 11 Movement) attempted to hold its first unsanctioned rally, RIA Novosti reported.
But while there was no repeat of the violence of Dec. 11, when more than 5,000
nationalists rioted in the heart of Russia’s capital, the mood is far from calm.
Migrants protest?
At the same time as the nationalist rally was expected in the city centre, there were
reports of a further meeting by disgruntled foreign workers.
They were gathering in the south of Moscow to express their angry at a sudden surge of
document checks and an increase in police harassment during the heightened security
which followed December’s disturbances, gzt.ru reported.
But claims of 30 arrests, mostly among Kyrgyz nationals, were rejected by police. An
official spokesman told gzt.ru: “This is the first I’ve heard of it. There was nothing.”
Amnesty concerns
Their complaints were backed up by Amnesty International, which released a statement
last week expressing concern about policing during the New Year holidays and claiming
ethnic minorities had been barred from Red Square.
A statement on the human rights group’s Russian-language website read: “The police
arbitrarily refused to allow dozens of people onto Red Square on the night [of Dec. 31],
especially people of non-Slavic appearance.
“Many reported that their documents were checked and some were reportedly arrested.
According to information from various sources the number of people from Central Asia
and the Caucasus who were arbitrarily stopped on their way to Red Square ranged from a
few dozen to several hundred people.”
Quiet riot
The planned rally in the city centre, meanwhile, failed to generate the kind of chaos
experienced in Moscow a month ago.
Eye-witnesses reported that small groups of teenagers gathered at Okhotny Ryad and
Teatralnaya metro stations from 6:30 pm, but they were thwarted by a reinforced police
presence which blocked off access to the area around Manezhnaya and evacuated the
shopping centre.
According to gzt.ru there were more journalists than nationalists at the site of the planned
demonstration, and by 8 pm “several dozen” people had been arrested.
Precise numbers of arrests were unclear: the police reported 10 people had been detained,
while Interfax news agency claimed more than 100 had been arrested.
Tomorrow in Vedomosti
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/tomorrow-in-vedomosti/428380.html
12 January 2011
Interior Ministry Clamps Down on Coal Cartel
By Alisa Fialko
Russia’s Interior Ministry has launched a criminal case against Siberian Coal Energy,
known as SUEK, and other coal miners after discovering evidence of collusion.
In late December, the ministry reported that it had uncovered a cartel, which, according
to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, was run by SUEK, Russky Ugol and Stroiservis.
By creating conditions that restrict competition, the companies managed to bring in more
than 100 million rubles ($3.27 million). SUEK alone made 5 million rubles illegally.
Investigators' documents were transferred to the Interior Ministry, the ministry reported.
The ministry's investigation was prompted by a complaint from a power-generating
company, representatives of the ministry said earlier. The investigation concerns 2009
coal sales.
Analysts say rising prices could have spurred the company to initiate an investigation. In
the past few months, the price of a ton of coal on the domestic market has climbed by
between 15 percent to 20 percent, to $40.
Aeroflot Sacks Executives for Delays
By Anastasia Dagayeva
Bonuses and premiums for the fourth quarter of 2010 will be withheld from Aeroflot
executives, CEO Vitaly Saveliev said in a statement posted on the company's web site.
An internal investigation is also being conducted, and three senior managers have been
fired for the disruption of services that took place Dec. 26 to 28.
Among those sacked was Aeroflot deputy director Vladimir Smirnov, who was
responsible for procuring anti-icing fluid, a spokesperson for the company said. Deputy
directors Konstantin Plotnikov and Alexander Andreyev also lost their jobs, a source
close to the airline added.
From Dec. 25 to 29, the carrier canceled 212 flights and delayed 358 more (the airline
operates between 100 and 150 flights a day to and from Sheremetyevo Airport), a
company spokesperson said.
More than 25,000 people were unable to fly out of Sheremetyevo, with a minimum delay
of 15 minutes.
The airline resumed normal operations Dec. 30.
Chinese Fifth-Generation Fighter Takes Flight
By Alexei Nikolsky
Photographs posted on several Chinese web sites appear to show the maiden flight of the
prototype of a Chinese-made fifth-generation fighter jet. The first pictures of the new
airplane, manufactured at the 132nd aircraft plant in Chengdu, appeared on the Internet
late last year. By early January, photos appeared of test flights attended by a large group
in both civilian and military clothing.
The aircraft, dubbed “J-20” by Chinese aviation enthusiasts, resembles both the Russian
fifth-generation MiG 1.42 prototype, which made two flights in 2000 before its funding
was cut, and the U.S. fifth-generation F-22 fighter.
The Chinese fighter jet uses the “duck” design with forward feathering. Judging from the
published photographs, the plane is bigger than the F-22 and the Russian T-50 Sukhoi
prototype, whose first flight took place a year ago.
There have been no official reports on the development of a new fighter in China, and
Chinese media cite Western web sites.
A Chinese Air Force general was quoted as saying that the fighter would enter service in
2016, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has suggested 2020 as a likely date.
The maiden flight of the Chinese prototype marks the country's entrance into an elite
club; the United States and Russia are the only other countries to have developed fifthgeneration fighters.
PRESS DIGEST - Russia - Jan 12
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE70B0ER20110112
Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:37am GMT
MOSCOW Jan 12 (Reuters) - The following are some of the leading stories in Russia's
newspapers on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for
their accuracy.
KOMMERSANT
www.kommersant.ru
- State-owned company Russian Highways (Avtodor) will get 39.5 billion roubles ($1.29
billion) from the federal budget in 2011, which is twice as much as the initially planned
figure, the daily writes.
- One of the Russian spies deported from the U.S. in 2010 as part a spy swap deal was
appointed advisor to president of the state-owned oil company Transneft (TRNF_p.MM),
the daily says.
VEDOMOSTI
www.vedomosti.ru
- There will be five to six political parties in Russia's lower house of parliament after the
2011 parliamentary elections instead of the current four, the paper says.
- Air traffic collapse in Moscow airports before New Year holidays will cost Russia's
flagship airline Aeroflot (AFLT.MM) $1.5 million, the daily writes.
- Sales of mobile phones in Russia were up 30-40 percent in December 2010 year-onyear, the daily reports.
ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA
www.rg.ru
- The paper runs an interview with Russia's Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.
NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA
www.ng.ru
- Russian army missed 20 percent of conscripts during the autumn draft of 2010, the daily
says.
Russian Press at a Glance, Wednesday, January 12, 2011
http://en.rian.ru/papers/20110112/162108451.html
08:46 12/01/2011
© RIA Novosti. Rybchinskiy
A brief look at what is in the Russian papers today
POLITICS
Five, or even six parties may win seats in the Russian State Duma, which currently hosts
only four factions, during parliamentary elections due in December. The pro-Kremlin
United Russia party, which dominates the State Duma, wants to show that it is taking
steps to tackle Russia's widely-criticized political stagnation.
(Vedomosti)
The pro-Kremlin United Russia party has moved to further strengthen its financial
position ahead of parliamentary elections due in December, actively seeking voluntarily
donations from companies.
(Nezavisimaya Gazeta)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the government to oversee a 20 percent
reduction of federal public servants, a move that could cost more than 100,000 officials
their jobs over the next 27 months.
(The Moscow Times)
Russia's Prosecutor General Yury Chaika discusses December's nationalist riots,
corruption and organized crime in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
In another interview, Russia's chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko gives his
opinion on Germany's dioxin-contaminated food outbreak, the cholera epidemic in Haiti,
and seasonal flu vaccinations in Russia.
(Rossiiskaya Gazeta)
Russian secret agents detained in the United States last summer and repatriated to Russia
in exchange for U.S. spies continue to receive high-profile jobs in major state
corporations.
(Kommersant)
Officials in Russia's Far East Kamchatka region have come down hard on a theatrical
performance based on Charles Perrault's 17th-century rendition of "Cinderella" after
declaring that it mocks the authorities.
(The Moscow Times)
Russia may face international embarrassment if it fails to fulfill its obligations to the
Council of Europe's Group of States Against Corruption, or GRECO, in fighting graft and
other unscrupulous practices.
(The Moscow Times)
The European Court of Human Rights has deleted a total of 1549 claims filed by a
resident of South Ossetia against the Georgian authorities from its consideration list. The
court said the resident lacked concern for his own complaints.
(Kommersant)
DEFENSE
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for a businesslike approach to nuclear
cooperation with the United States after a historic accord cleared the way for the two
countries to exchange technology and open nuclear joint ventures.
(The Moscow Times)
The Kommersant business daily summarizes the possible motives for an assassination
attempt against Bislan Elimkhanov, the former commander of the Chechen Zapad special
battalion of the Russian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate. Lieutenant
Colonel Elimkhanov was attacked by an unknown gunman at the Khankala military base
in Chechnya on January 9.
(Kommersant)
ECONOMY
Russia's consumer price growth in 2010 has exceeded official forecasts and accounted for
8.8 percent, equaling the 2009 figure, according to the Rosstat state statistics service.
Food products prices grew 12.9 percent in 2010, which explains last year's increase in the
pace of consumer inflation. Analysts do not rule out that Russia's inflation rate may
exceed 10 percent in 2011.
(Kommersant)
BUSINESS
Russian venture fund Almaz Capital said on Tuesday that its first-ever sale would see its
stake in Qik, a Silicon Valley-based provider of mobile video conferencing software and
services, go to Skype by the end of the month.
(The Moscow Times)
Moscow and Minsk are on the brink of a new oil row: Belarusian state-run oil and
chemical company Belneftekhim has failed to agree with Russia on oil export prices. It is
estimated that the company's oil reserves will run out by the end of January.
(Vedomosti)
Russia's largest car maker AvtoVAZ has revived plans to construct a C-segment car,
which is expected to appear on the market in 2014 of 2015.
(Vedomosti)
Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot will cut bonuses of its top managers worth a total of
$1.5 million as a punishment for their failure to prevent a pre-New Year traffic collapse
at Moscow airports.
(Vedomosti)
ENVIRONMENT
2011 will see increasingly politicized environmental movements sprouting up around
local issues, and an alliance between green groups and businessmen to open up Russia's
potential in renewable energy.
(The Moscow Times)
SPACE
Russia intends to spend 115 billion rubles ($3.8 bln) on national space programs in 2011
to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight by Yury Gagarin.
(Nezavisimaya Gazeta)
Medvedev Details State Downsizing
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/medvedev-details-statedownsizing/428359.html
12 January 2011
By Nikolaus von Twickel
President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the government to oversee a 20 percent
reduction of federal public servants, a move that could cost more than 100,000 officials
their jobs over the next 27 months.
A quarter of the job cuts must be made by March 31, giving government agencies just
three months to act, according to a decree signed by Medvedev on Dec. 31 and published
several days later on the Kremlin's web site.
The next quarter of the cuts must be completed during the following 12 months, while the
rest must take place before March 31, 2013.
It was unclear Tuesday exactly how many officials will get pink slips, but analysts polled
by The Moscow Times said bureaucrats have shown in the past that they can reduce their
numbers on paper without really changing the size or the efficiency of the country's
sprawling state apparatus.
According to the latest available figures on the State Statistics Service's web site, the
number of federal officials stood at almost 880,000 in 2009, meaning that a 20 percent
reduction would slash more than 175,000 jobs.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said last fall that reducing the federal headcount by 20
percent would save the budget up to 43 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) per year.
The Finance Ministry did not offer a base number of officials, but Vedomosti has said
120,507 federal positions would fall under the order.
Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by telephone Tuesday that it was too early
to say how many jobs would be affected.
Medvedev said in his decree that half the money saved by the shakeup should be spent on
pay increases for remaining officials.
The president also specifically ordered the State Duma, the Federation Council, the Audit
Chamber and the Central Elections Commission to make proposals of how to cut their
administrative staff.
Medvedev first announced his plan to downsize bureaucracy last June when he ordered
the government to draft a proposal.
The idea, initially floated by the Finance Ministry to help patch a budget deficit, has been
called politically risky because it implies Medvedev's meddling in budget matters, which
is generally handled by the Cabinet under Medvedev's mentor Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin.
But similar staff-cutting initiatives during Putin's eight-year presidency invariably ended
with the overall number of state servants increasing instead of falling.
Putin famously lambasted the state apparatus as cumbersome and ineffective in a 2002
state-of-the-nation address and ordered then-Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to draft a
reform of how to downsize it.
Kasyanov lost his job in the overhaul, and Putin slashed the number of federal ministries
from 23 to 14 in another revamp after his re-election in 2004. (The number has since
crawled up to 17.)
But at the same time, Putin oversaw a massive growth in public sector employees. This
was done by the creation of new federal agencies like the Federal Drug Control Service
and the introduction of federal districts, a whole new government tier sandwiched
between the federal and regional levels.
As a result, the number of federal officials jumped from 522,500 to 878,000 between
2000 and 2009. The overall number of state servants burgeoned from 1.16 million to 1.67
million in the same period, according to the State Statistics Service.
Yury Korgunyuk, an analyst with the Indem think tank, said government agencies in the
past have cut vacant jobs or laid off those who planned to retire anyway.
"No bureaucracy wants to reform itself," he said.
Medvedev's order is easy to fulfill technically and politically, but the question is how to
keep employee numbers from increasing in the future, said Dmitry Badovsky, a political
scientist at the Institute for Social Systems at Moscow State University.
"Recent years have shown that whenever there is growth in the economy and the budget,
there is also a tendency for growth in bureaucracy," he said.
The firing of tens of thousands of federal officials, analysts say, could also undermine
electoral support for the current leaders, because they are a substantial part of their power
base.
January 11, 2011
Mavrodi’s Second Coming
http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Business&articleid=a1294772688
By Tai Adelaja
Russia Profile
The Notorious Russian Fraudster Sergei Mavrodi Has Mounted His Hobby-Horse Once
Again and Experts Say He Can Hardly Be Stopped
Russia's top swindler Sergei Mavrodi, who masterminded the country’s most
notorious pyramid scheme that bilked millions of Russians out of their life savings
in the 1990s, said he would be back in business on Tuesday, with a new financial
offering targeted at get-rich-quick investors. Mavrodi, a mathematician by training
who was also one of the country’s first computer programmers, said he would
harness the vast power of the Internet and spin money for potential investors by
selling “fantiks” or virtual tickets.
Mavrodi's new project, MMM-2011, whose Russian acronym also translates as "We Can
Do a Lot," is expected to be up and running on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported, citing a
video blog posted by the pyramid-schemer on Monday. Under the new scheme, Mavrodi
said investors would earn 20 percent profits per month while retirees and the disabled, his
most loyal constituency, would get 30 percent. The project, which he also dubbed a
"financial social network," will be "absolutely invulnerable, unsinkable and undestroyable" and could attract up to 100,000 investors this year and up to 1 million in
2012. Unlike his old brainchild, which relied on aggressive soap opera-like TV and radio
adverts to lure naive investors, Mavrodi said all investors have to do this time is open
dollar accounts in electronic payment systems. "You all know my situation. I do not have
the right to perform any transactions with any valuables – with any sorts of securities,"
Mavrodi said on his Web site. "All the operations will be carried out among the investors.
I will not touch a thing. I have no right to do that. I will only be managing the process."
In the dying days of the Soviet Union, Mavrodi was one of hundreds of Russians who
started small cooperatives that sold pirated videos and cassettes. In the late 1980s, he set
up MMM with two partners but as his control on the market slipped, his company began
selling “vouchers,” promising a 10 percent weekly return. He was arrested for tax evasion
in 1994 but then elected to Parliament later that year by a groundswell of support from
investors who regarded him as a victim of the corrupt Yeltsin era. But Parliament
stripped Mavrodi of his immunity the following year and his 1996 bid to run for president
was rejected by the Central Election Commission. He was added to Interpol’s wanted list
in 1997 and immediately went into hiding. After four years on the run, Mavrodi was
caught in a police raid in 2003 as he holed up in a shabby apartment near Moscow’s
Frunzenskaya metro station.
In 2007, Mavrodi was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for fraud but spent less
than a month in jail as he had been in detention since 2003. Mavrodi's defense lawyer,
Olga Makarova, said then that the criminal case consisted of over 600 volumes and
involved 10,366 plaintiffs from across Russia who lost 110 million rubles ($4.3 million),
although millions of others lost money in the scheme. Despite his conviction however,
Mavrodi continues to insist that he broke no laws and there are plenty of Russians willing
to believe his narrative. “I don’t think that I committed a crime. I didn’t break any laws.
And all this talk about a pyramid isn’t worth a bent penny,” Mavrodi said. “On the whole,
I think I acted correctly and absolutely don’t regret anything.” Mavrodi was ordered to
pay some 20 million rubles to compensate victims of the scam and in 2008, the courts
released 18 million rubles belonging to the fraudster. However, at his release in 2007, he
was met outside with a bouquet of lilacs from well-wishers.
Like Bernard "Bernie" Madoff after him, Mavrodi’s pyramid scheme ran deep in the
family. Mavrodi's younger brother Vyacheslav was sentenced to five years and three
months in prison in February 2003 for running his own pyramid scheme from 1996 to 97.
Among other things, he was convicted on charges of illegal banking activity and illegally
trading precious metals and gems. Sergei Mavrodi's wife, Yelena, was detained in 2001
on suspicion of trying to help a girlfriend kidnap a 6-week-old baby from a former lover.
No charges were filed, and both women were released. Mavrodi's cousin Oksana
Pavlyuchenko was the head of Stockgeneration, a company that courted investors over
the Internet with promises of 10 percent monthly interest, according to Wired magazine.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission took Stockgeneration to court in the early
2000s, accusing it of organizing a "classical financial pyramid" that has duped 275,000
investors, according to the SEC's Web site. The Mavrodi saga has been so captivating
that film director, Eldar Salavatov decided last year to weave the biographical story of the
bespectacled mathematician into a $2.5-million-budget action film called “PyraMMMid.”
However, Mavrodi’s MMM was just one of the largest of the hundreds of pyramid
schemes that flourished in Russia in the early 1990s. One of them, Vlastilina, bilked
millions of people and its head, Valentina Solovyova dropped out of sight before she was
arrested in July 1995 by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and charged with fraud.
Between 1993 and 1994, Solovyova, created the Vlastilina investment firm that
prosecutors said took the ruble equivalent of $130 million from 16,500 people, ranging
from poor pensioners to pop stars. Based in Podolsk, 60 kilometers south of Moscow,
Vlastilina offered investors a 100 percent return on their money in one month.
Investigators said Vlastilina worked as a pyramid scheme, in which high returns were
paid out to earlier investors using money from new participants. Vlastilina also offered
Zhiguli cars for half the market price within the same period. Some investors made a
quick killing, but most lost their money when the firm collapsed overnight in November
1994. As the venture flourished, Solovyova gave some of the money away, paying for the
education of her neighbor's children and even renovating a local church. When
Solovyova was convicted of fraud in 1999 and sentenced to seven years in prison, the
names of her victims were listed on 600 pages by the Moscow's regional Reutovo
Municipal Court and two assistants took three days to read out the court’s decision.
As late as 2008, the Rubin Business Club, a St. Petersburg-based Ponzi scheme, also
bilked thousands of investors out of billions of rubles and its director Alexander
Polshchenko disappeared suddenly in February 2008, prompting the police to open an
investigation into the fraud, dubbed the biggest in a decade. The Club’s clients had been
encouraged to make a minimum investment of 3,000 rubles ($125) and court filings
showed that many of the victims had taken out bank credit to finance their investment.
The company Web site claimed its funds were invested in various construction projects in
St. Petersburg. It also said the Rubin Business Club had signed contracts with various
construction companies to transfer their funds to experienced brokers for investment in
high-yielding securities.
But while similar scams had lured investors who were still new to capitalism and the
concept of a stock market by promises of high returns, Mavrodi’s new undertaking is
introducing a bit of high-tech into the bargain. Mavrodi said on his Web site Monday that
he would once again introduce virtual tickets in a complicated scheme that he himself
was at pains to explain. "They are like a unit of money – a ticket, a share, it is all the
same. But these virtual tickets – these are not securities, they are little more than
Monopoly money. They will rise in value." Experts say however that despite more
awareness of Ponzi schemes in recent years, the country's low-level of financial literacy
could still make it possible for fraudsters like Mavrodi to attract naive, get-rich-quick
investors. About 25 percent of Russians said they would be willing to partake in such a
scheme if launched, according to an express poll conducted by the Echo of Moscow radio
station on Monday.
"Our financial laws are so vague that Mavrodi can try to pretend that he falls within the
law,” Pavel Medvedev, a State Duma Deputy told the Echo of Moscow radio station on
Monday. Medvedev, a financial ombudsman, vowed to stop Mavrodi in his tracks. “I will
try to make sure that our prosecutors do not agree with that assessment," Medvedev said.
"I am going to demand an inquiry."
January 11, 2011
Bump and Protest
http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Politics&articleid=a1294773645&print=y
es
By Svetlana Kononova
Special to Russia Profile
Although Russia Could Be on Course for Demographic Disaster, the Government Has
Cut Incentives to Would-Be Mothers
Last year there was a remarkable trend in Russia: the growth and development of
civil society. So often indifferent and passive, people have changed their behavior
and are now sticking together to protect their interests. There was much visible
public action in 2010 including numerous protests against the controversial highway
through Khimki Forest, the blue bucket flash-mobs against “migalki” – the blue
lights on cars that allow high-ranking officials to flout basic traffic rules, as well as
many other events. Now Russia’s mothers are up in arms over cuts to maternity
benefit.
Protests in big cities have become ordinary events of little surprise to anybody. Even so,
the protest made up of pregnant women and young mothers organized at the end of
December astonished even the skeptics, cynics and politicians. Young women gathered
outside the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development in Moscow holding banners
which read: “Found someone to leech onto?” “Saving money on pregnant women =
demographic collapse!” and “Closing budget gaps with newborns?” Similar action was
taken in St. Petersburg and Izhevsk, the capital city of the Republic of Udmurtia.
What was it that forced pregnant women to take to the streets in the midst of frosty
weather? They were protesting the reduction of benefits for pregnancy, childbirth and
childcare which came into force on January 1, in line with new legalization recently
approved by the State Duma and signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The
legislation contains several amendments reducing benefits for many pregnant women and
young mothers according to the protest’s organizers.
Firstly, maternity benefit will now be calculated based on a woman’s average income
over the last two years. Previously it was based on an average of her income over the last
year only. “It means most of us will lose money,” said Anastasia Yermakova, the
organizer of the rally. “Two thousand and nine was a year of economic crisis when many
women in Russia earned small salaries or even lost their jobs. Now maternity benefit will
be calculated based on these small incomes.”
Secondly, maternity benefit will be calculated using income earned in the last 730 days,
which gives women who took no time off in the last two years an advantage. The others
will lose money. It is particularly disadvantageous for women who spent a lot of time in
hospitals because of a high-risk pregnancy in the last year. Daily income and maternity
benefit used to be calculated from the number of days when women were actually
working.
“Officials tell us that the new legislation will affect few women only. But this is not true.
Do you know many pregnant women who worked 730 days in the last two years? Or
women who earned more in 2010 than in 2009?” Yermakova said.
She calculates her own maternity benefit by way of example. According to the old law,
Yermakova would be due 140,000 rubles ($4,610) from single childbirth benefit and
14,000 rubles ($461) from childcare benefit monthly. But the new legislation cuts this
amount to 35,000 rubles ($1,150) and 3,000 rubles ($98) respectively.
The authorities say no one will be paid less than minimum wage, which is currently 4,330
rubles ($142). This money is enough to buy five to ten packs of nappies.
“It seems that young mothers who have just graduated from university and do not have
two years of work experience and women who had breaks in work because of illness will
receive benefits amounting to not much more than minimum wage,” Yermakova said.
“In all probability the government hoped nobody would notice the changes to the law.
But we monitor all changes,” said Diana Romanovskaya, the protest’s spokesperson.
Protesters believe the new legislation was implemented to compensate for the budget
deficit in the Social Insurance Fund which is forecasted to grow to 200 billion rubles
($65.9 million) in 2011.
“The Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development promised that it will consider
delaying the implementation of the law for already-pregnant women, so that they can
receive benefits under the old scheme in 2011,” said Romanovskaya. “But we will press
for the cancellation of the new legislation. Everybody should be paid as they used to be.”
Russia’s population has been getting smaller since 1991. In 2009 Russia recorded
population growth for the first time in 15 years, growing 23.3 thousand. But this was due
to migration. In 2010, Russia’s birth rate was 12.4 newborns per 1000 people - not
enough to maintain the population. According to the Federal State Statistics Service, 1.49
million children were born in the country, and 1.7 million people died last year.
Additionally, Russia still has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. In 2009 alone,
1.16 million abortions were carried out – that’s 66.7 abortions for every 100 births.
Since 2007, mothers in Russia who have a second child are granted so-called “maternity
capital” which amounts to 365,700 rubles ($12,050). This money cannot be received in
cash, but mothers can spend it on property, child education or add it to a retirement fund.
However, many Russian families cannot afford even to have a single child. Experts say
that many women do not plan any pregnancies because of housing problems, low income,
bad health and lack of support from family members. A poll conducted by the
independent Levada Center found that 73 percent of Russians do not plan to have
children in the next two to three years, and 11 percent say they do not want children at
all.
Future and recent mothers plan to hold the next national protest on January 18. “We have
a lot of supporters in many Russian towns and cities. Maternity benefit cuts have made
people indignant. The state is behaving very cynically. On the one hand, officials call on
us to have more children to prevent a demographic disaster in the country and promise to
support mothers and families with children. But on the other hand, they are cutting our
maternity benefits,” Yermakova said.
Surprisingly, even Russia’s online childfree community supported the “pregnant protest.”
“The state has decreased maternity payments. It seems to be an alarming trend. What will
happen next? Increasing the retirement age? Increasing taxes? Cutting other social
benefits?” wrote a member of this community who goes by the nickname ‘hild vindsval.’
“If I could choose how to spend my taxes I would sooner give this money to people who
really need it than pay for Skolkovo, the Olympic Games in Sochi and other high-cost
projects, which improve the image of our government worldwide but are useless for most
average Russians.”
Russian nationalists stand trial for murder
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/russian-nationalists-stand-trial-for-murder
11 Jan 2011
Source: reuters // Reuters
* Neo-nationalists gaining ground in Russia
* Lawyer, reporter were gunned down in broad daylight
MOSCOW, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Two alleged Russian ultra-nationalists went on trial on
Tuesday for the killing of a human rights lawyer and a journalist, who were gunned down
in broad daylight not far from the Kremlin.
The murders of Lawyer Stanislav Markelov and opposition reporter Anastasia Baburova
in January 2009 fuelled criticism that the authorities fail to do enough to hunt down those
who target rights activists and journalists.
"The two accused belonged to an ultra-nationalist group. Ethnic hatred was the motive
for the crime," Vladimir Zherebyonkov, lawyer for Baburova's family, told Reuters by
telephone.
Although both victims were Russians, Markelov had represented the mother of an antifascist campaigner who he said was killed by neo-Nazis.
He had also contested the early release of a former Russian tank commander imprisoned
for the murder of a Chechen girl. Baburova, from the Novaya Gazeta paper, had been
walking with him when the pair were killed with an automatic pistol.
A man and a woman, Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgeniya Khasis, went on trial in a Moscow
court on Tuesday charged with their murders. Tikhonov has confessed to involvement. It
was not clear if Khasis had yet entered a plea.
Their lawyers could not be reached for comment.
Neo-nationalist movements have been gaining ground and boosting their membership
numbers in Russia over the past year, shocking authorities and ordinary Russians.
Racial violence exploded in Moscow in December when some 7,000 soccer fans and
nationalists chanting racist slogans demonstrated near Red Square and attacked passersby who appeared to be non-Slavic.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin condemned the unrest, the worst racial violence in
Moscow since the fall of the Soviet Union 20 years ago, calling it "xenophobia".
Early last year a Russian judge who sentenced neo-nationalists for hate crimes, Eduard
Chuvashov, was shot dead in the stairwell of his apartment as he left for work. His
attackers remain at large.
Attacks on investigative journalists have made Russia one of the most dangerous places
in the world for reporters to work.
The 2006 high-profile slaying of reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who also worked at
Novaya Gazeta, and of rights worker Natalia Estemirova are still unsolved.
The New York-based Committee (CPJ) ranks Russia eighth on its "Impunity Index", a
listing of countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve
the crimes, placing it after Afghanistan and Nepal. (Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman;
Editing by Jon Boyle)
The Politics and Business of Going Green
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/the-politics-and-business-of-goinggreen/428358.html
12 January 2011
By Roland Oliphant
This year will see increasingly politicized environmental movements sprouting up around
local issues, and an alliance between green groups and businessmen to open up Russia's
potential in renewable energy — provided there are no more fires.
Last year started badly for environmentalists. In January, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's
concerns about unemployment trumped any qualms about polluting Lake Baikal, and he
authorized the reopening of the controversial pulp and paper mill on its shores.
In the summer, Russia got its first taste of global warming, as the hottest summer in
history gave way to a devastating series of forest and peat bog fires that left the European
part of the country reeling, with thousands homeless and at least 50 dead. The country
lost some 30 percent of its annual harvest to drought, prompting the government to
impose grain export bans.
Meanwhile, workers began felling trees to make way for the controversial road through
the Khimki forest. A media-savvy protest campaign made the struggle between local
residents and the road builders the biggest environmental story of the year. A massive
rally in central Moscow forced the government to back down temporarily.
It wasn't all bad news though. Putin won some plaudits for hosting an international
conference in St. Petersburg in November on tiger conservation. A conference in
September on the rapidly warming Arctic was hailed as a rare opportunity for ecologists,
government and oil companies to work together.
Political Greening
Protesters failed to close the Baikal paper mill and a government-appointed commission
gave the Khimki highway project the go ahead in December. But the public outcry over
both “put regional environmental problems on the federal agenda,” said Alexei
Yablokov, who heads the Yabloko party's green wing.
That puts single-issue pressure groups in the peculiar position of being disillusioned with
their current tactics, but in a strong position to open a new front: the overtly political.
“We're expecting a strengthening and greater politicization of the green movement in
2011,” Yablokov said in e-mailed comments. “Groups that previously avoided politics
have come to understand that, without political decisions, nothing gets done, laws don't
work.”
The most prominent of those groups is Environmental Defense of Moscow Region, or
ECMO, which surged to fame as the chief defender of the Khimki forest outside
Moscow.
Led by the charismatic and indefatigable local businesswoman Yevgenia Chirikova, their
apolitical campaign snowballed until it culminated in a mass demonstration by 3,000
sympathizers, including rock legend Yury Shevchuk, on Moscow's Pushkin Square in
August.
Days later, the government appeared to back down, suspending work on the road while a
commission examined alternative routes.
When the commission approved the route in December, the group quickly took decisive
action, pledging to field a candidate in the 2012 presidential elections and joining a
sanctioned demonstration in defense of freedom of assembly on Triumfalnaya Square on
December 31.
“We tried dialogue, we tried public protest, and they did not listen, so we are going into
the political sphere,” said ECMO spokesman Yaroslav Nikitenko.
How successful the politicized single-issue groups will be remains moot. The Yabloko
party has been vigorously involved in fights to stop development in nature reserves at
Utrish and Tuapse in the Krasnodar region, with modest results. And with an election
looming in 2012, few analysts think green issues by themselves will dominate either the
Kremlin's or the opposition's agenda.
But political scientists point out that disputes over forests and lakes do have a habit of
aggravating already tense regional politics. “Environmental disputes tend to act as
catalysts when there's already a good deal of local grievance against authorities who are
seen as outsiders with dubious motives and no understanding of regional concerns,” said
Nikolai Petrov, an expert on regional affairs at the Carnegie Moscow Center.
Hatred of such “carpetbaggers” was prominent in the campaign against the Baikal pulp
and paper mill. A poll conducted by local Irkutsk web site Babr.ru shortly after Putin
authorized its reopening in January rated the prime minister as “Siberia's greatest
enemy.” In second place was Oleg Deripaska, whose Basic Element holding controlled
the plant at the time.
Bearing that paradigm in mind, Irkutsk, Khimki and the developments in Krasnodar for
the 2014 Sochi Olympics are likely to remain the most prominent battlegrounds, while
the Altai republic, where Gazprom is building a pipeline to China, could also see green
struggles.
But most disputes are not at the regional level. “The great success of the anti-road rally
on Pushkin Square this summer was its slogan, 'Everyone has his own Khimki forest.' It
attracted people from all over who fear their own patch of woodland or forest could be
cleared,” Petrov said. Angelina Davydova, a freelance journalist and expert with the
Russian-German Environmental Information Office, reckons the next disputes will be “in
and around large cities” all over the country.
Where is Al Gore?
While activists turn to the political arena, investors are hoping this could be the year
Russia embraces green business.
Renewable energy investors are looking to the government to draft and push through
legislation needed to make wind farms and other renewable energy sources viable.
“If it goes through this year, we will see full-scale investment in renewables. If there's no
legislation, there will be no development,” explained Anatoly Kopylov of the Russian
Association of Wind Power Industry.
The regulations needed to make renewables work would include standards for
compensation to renewable producers, standards governing connection of wind farms to
the national electricity grid, and a system of incentives and tax perks similar to those
enjoyed by other energy sectors.
Kopylov has found allies at the International Financial Corporation, a branch of the
World Bank Group that used the last weeks of 2010 to start a lobbying and investment
campaign to “open the door” for investments in renewables.
Renewables currently account for less than 1 percent of Russia's energy mix, but the
government has set a goal of raising that to 4.5 percent by 2020.
IFC program director Patrick Willems says he is keen to find a “Russian Al Gore” to
spread the word about climate change and the benefits of wind farms and biomass. In the
meantime, he and his staff will spend 2011 galvanizing public and political opinion
through a series of public events to raise awareness and, perhaps most tellingly, finding
projects that already demonstrate renewables' business potential.
Established environmental pressure groups like Greenpeace, alarmed at the prospect of a
flurry of investment in nuclear energy following the conclusion of the U.S.-Russian civil
nuclear cooperation agreement this December, have welcomed the IFC initiative.
Greenpeace says the new agreement includes a clause allowing the parties to send each
other radioactive materials for reprocessing. That, they fear, is code for the United States
paying Russia to act as its nuclear dumping ground. “2011 could see the first agreement
on this, if not actual deliveries of American nuclear waste,” warned Vladimir Chuprov of
Greenpeace Russia.
The biggest obstacle is challenging the institutionalized skepticism about climate change
and renewables that is personified by none other than Putin himself. In September, the
prime minister told an international conference on the Arctic in Moscow that the Arctic
Ocean “was once a tropical sea,” and that hence the climate might well change without
human impact. In December, he said windmills “seem to be an environmentally friendly
kind [of energy], but in fact they kill birds."
National Economic Trends
Financial offences amount to $18.9 bln in 2010 - Audit Chamber
http://rt.com/politics/president-council-fight-corruption/
Published: 12 January, 2011, 09:50
Edited: 12 January, 2011, 10:58
Russian Audit Chamber uncovered financial wrongdoings worth 580 billion rubles
(US$18.9 billion) in 2010, the agency’s head Sergey Stepashin said ahead of the meeting
of the anti-corruption council.
The sum includes the misuse of 2 billion rubles ($65.3 million) of public money,
Stepashin told President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday. According to the chamber’s
chief, 464 requests were handed to the Prosecutor General’s Office last year, 81 of which
led to in criminal investigations.
The high-profile cases 2010 included investigation of the Russian athletes’ preparations
for the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and operations of the agricultural bank
Rosselkhozbank, Stepashin said.
As a change of tactics, the Audit Chamber worked in closer co-operation with other
government structures, including the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service
(FSB). Specialists from these agencies assisted the chamber’s auditors.
Among other steps to fight corruption, late last year Stepashin called for an amendment
to the legislation, which would stipulate officials’ declaration of their personal spending.
The Audit Chamber is not a part of the law-enforcement system and is not an
investigative agency, Medvedev noted. “Nevertheless, you have highly skilled
specialists,” he told Stepashin. The president expressed hope that the co-operation with
other agencies and ministries would be fruitful.
On Thursday, Medvedev summons the meeting of the presidential council for countering
corruption.
© Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005 - 2011. All rights reserved.
Tripling Bond Sales Spurs Foreign Push: Russia Credit (Correct)
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aW9dfmWhZvEA
By Emma O’Brien
(Corrects currency conversion in third paragraph.)
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Russia is seeking to widen its foreign investor base as the world’s
biggest oil exporting nation prepares to triple ruble bond sales to a record.
The government may allow over-the-counter trading before the end of March to lure
demand and is considering bringing settlement procedures in line with international
norms and introducing separate trading of interest and principal payments on bonds, said
Alexander Ovchinnikov, vice president for global markets at Troika Dialog in Moscow
and a member of a panel advising the Finance Ministry on improving the debt market.
Russia aims to raise 1.74 trillion rubles ($57 billion) from bonds known as OFZs in 2011
to finance the budget. Sales last year fell 33 percent short of the target as the government
balked at higher yields demanded by bondholders concerned by the outlook for higher
interest rates. Yields on OFZs due in 2016 rose 24 basis points since the end of
November to 7.64 percent while similar maturity Brazil notes gained 15 to 12.49 percent.
“They understand that they must do something to meet their goal to borrow 1.74 trillion
rubles,” said Ovchinnikov at Troika, Russia’s oldest investment bank. “They need to
create some additional interest to participation on the local debt market.”
Bonds Fall
Ruble bonds slid during the first day of trading for 2011 yesterday, lifting the yield on
OFZs due in 2016 to the highest level since Dec. 13 relative to dollar notes maturing in
2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Russia’s 2015 dollar bonds yielded 3.51
percent, down 25 basis points since the end of November.
Russia is looking to overseas investors to help fund a budget gap that Finance Minister
Alexei Kudrin said totaled as much as 4.2 percent of gross domestic product last year.
Kudrin said Dec. 29 that spending may exceed revenue this year by an amount equal to 3
percent of GDP.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s government sold 558 billion rubles of the 839 billion
rubles of OFZs targeted for 2010, according to central bank data. Russia covered the
deficit by tapping its Reserve Fund, which shrank by $15.5 billion during December to
$25.4 billion, the biggest drop since Bloomberg started collating data on the fund in
2008, according to a Finance Ministry statement yesterday.
Foreign investors seeking to buy and sell OFZs on Moscow’s Micex exchange need to
have a separate trading account set up with a local broker, and transferring funds between
the government and corporate bonds sections of exchange can take a number of days,
said Maxim Tishin, who helps manage $850 million of debt including OFZs at UFG
Asset Management in Moscow.
Settlement
The panel has recommended different options for settling trades be made available on
OFZs, instead of the current immediate settlement, which has been in place since 1997
and discourages investors without access to funds, Ovchinnikov said.
The Finance Ministry scrapped two OFZ auctions in December as the prospect of rising
benchmark interest rates to combat accelerating inflation lifted yields. The last sale of
2010 was canceled because of “unfavorable market conditions,” according to a statement
on the ministry’s web site. A tender of 2016 debt scheduled for Dec. 15 was also pulled
after yields hit 7.78 percent, the highest since the bonds started trading Aug. 5.
With Russia’s worst drought in at least 50 years spurring inflation to 8.8 percent in
December, the fastest in a year, Bank Rossii may be forced to raise its key interest rates
in the first quarter, Chairman Sergey Ignatiev said in December. The regulator increased
the deposit rate by 0.25 percentage point to 2.75 percent at its last monetary policy
review for 2010 on Dec. 24, and traders are pricing in 86 basis points, or 0.86 percentage
point, of rate rises over the next three months, forward rate agreements show.
Rising Yields
OFZ yields could jump by as much as 75 basis points should the central bank increase
benchmark rates by a total 150 this year, said Gyula Toth, head of emerging Europe,
Middle East and Africa fixed income and currency strategy at UniCredit SpA, Italy’s
largest bank.
With domestic funding costs rising, Russia will instead issue more dollar-denominated
debt with maturities of 10 years or more, Toth said by e-mail from Vienna yesterday.
“The government will try to issue dollar debt utilizing the low U.S rate environment.”
Russia’s 7.75 percent refinancing rate and 6.75 percent repurchase rate charged on oneand seven-day loans compares with near zero target rates in the U.S. and Japan. The
country may sell $7 billion of foreign currency-denominated bonds this year, the ministry
said on its web site Dec. 29.
First Auction
Russia plans to offer 30 billion rubles of 2014 OFZs at its first auction of the year on Jan.
19, according to a schedule published on its website. Calls to the office of Deputy
Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin yesterday weren’t answered.
The ruble, which is managed by the central bank against a dollar-euro basket to limit
swings, was little changed yesterday, the first day of 2011 trade, at 30.5675 per dollar.
Non-deliverable forwards, which provide a guide to expectations of currency movements
and interest-rate differentials, show the ruble at 30.7788 per dollar in three months time.
Russia’s dollar bonds maturing in 2020 rose yesterday, pushing the yield 3 basis points
lower to 4.98 percent.
The extra yield investors demand to hold Russian debt rather than U.S. Treasuries fell 17
basis points to 184, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI+ indexes. The
difference compares with 122 for debt of similarly rated Mexico and 164 for Brazil,
which is rated two steps lower at Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service.
The yieldspread on Russian bonds is 44 basis points below the average for emerging
markets, according to JPMorgan.
Brussels Link
The cost of protecting Russian debt against non-payment for five years using creditdefault swaps dropped 5 basis points to 146 yesterday, according to data provider CMA.
The contracts pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the
cash equivalent should a borrower fail to adhere to its debt agreements.
Credit-default swaps for Russia, rated Baa1 by Moody’s, its third-lowest investment
grade rating, cost 1 basis point less than contracts for Turkey, which is rated four levels
lower at Ba2. Russia swaps cost as much as 21 basis points more on Nov. 29.
The Micex exchange and Euroclear Bank SA, which runs the world’s largest system for
settling bonds, are discussing a link to allow clients of the Brussels-based bank to buy
and sell OFZs without a local trading account, Ekaterina Demushkina, head of the
Micex’s national depositary said Nov. 17.
Euroclear started a study on opening up the connection in November, its Russia director
Bart Wauters said at the time.
‘Funny Paper’
With policy makers weighing the first increase to the refinancing rate since 2008, OFZ
yields will be “under big pressure to go higher,” UFG’s Tishin said. “The liberation of
the OFZ market, making it simpler for both domestic and international investors to get
involved, could help to balance out the prospect of rising borrowing costs.”
Russia delayed its first ever sale of ruble bonds to foreign investors in December as the
European debt crisis and Irish bank bailout weakened investors’ demand for assets
viewed as posing higher risk.
The possibility of trading OFZs on Euroclear would lure more international investors to
Russia than offering “funny paper” like the ruble-denominated Eurobond, Tishin said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Emma O’Brien in Moscow at
[email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at [email protected]
Last Updated: January 12, 2011 02:00 EST
Russian Winter Grains Were Shielded by Snow Cover, Center Says
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aRNH69scqEAM
By Marina Sysoyeva
Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Russian winter-grain plantings were shielded from frost in
January’s first 10 days by snow cover exceeding 55 centimeters (21.7 inches) in some
places, the national weather center said.
Frost was “not dangerous for winter crops anywhere with such snow cover,” the Federal
Hydrometeorological Center said on its website today. Snow depths were at least 20
centimeters in most parts of European Russia and 15 centimeters in Asian regions, it said,
adding that plantings will be in “satisfactory” condition nationwide until Jan. 20.
An ice crust from 0.5 centimeter to 1.5 centimeters thick was “unfavorable” for plantings
in four regions of the Central Federal District and three of the Volga Federal District’s
regions in the month’s first 10 days, according to the center. The crust may disappear if
higher temperatures persist, it said.
A 10-centimeter snow layer combined with temperatures as low as minus 23 degrees
Celsius (minus 9.4 degrees Fahrenheit) represented a “danger to plantings” in some
locations in the western Altai region, the center said. An ice crust of as much as 1.4
centimeters was “unfavorable” for further wintering of crops in some fields in northeast
Altai, it said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow at
[email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at
[email protected]
Last Updated: January 11, 2011 09:44 EST
Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions
Rosneft, Polyus Gold, Razgulay Group: Russian Equity Preview
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a1jmqgrAYSsc
By Anna Shiryaevskaya
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The following companies may be active in Russian trading. Stock
symbols are in parentheses and share prices are from the previous close in Moscow.
The 30-stock Micex Index advanced 1.5 percent to 1,713.97. The dollar-denominated
RTS Index rose 1.8 percent to 1,801.76.
OAO Rosneft (ROSN RX): Oil, Russia’s main export earner, rose for a second day after
a U.S. presidential panel investigating the BP Plc spill in the Gulf of Mexico called for
“urgent reform” and the Trans Alaska Pipeline System’s closure threatened supplies to
refiners. Shares of Russia’s biggest oil producer gained 2.9 percent to 225.09 rubles.
OAO Polyus Gold (PLZL RX): Gold and silver futures rose for the second straight day
on speculation that Europe’s debt crisis is spreading, boosting demand for the precious
metals as a store of value. Polyus, Russia’s biggest gold producer, gained 0.1 percent to
1,920.99 rubles.
OAO Razgulay Group (GRAZ RX): Sugar prices rose to a one- week high after India, the
world’s second-biggest producer, said exports may be delayed by a month. Wheat
rebounded from a two- week low on signs that demand is increasing for grains from the
U.S., the world’s largest shipper, after excessive rains damaged crops in Australia. The
Russian grain and sugar producer rose 6.4 percent to 50.155 rubles.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in Helsinki via the Moscow
newsroom at
[email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at
[email protected]
Last Updated: January 11, 2011 22:00 EST
Russian stock market daily morning report (January 12, 2011, Wednesday)
http://www.stockmarketsreview.com/reports/russian_stock_market_daily_morning_repor
t_20110112_85503/
By Veles Capital
The first trading session of the year opened in major tune – the most of the liquid chips
added in price following the oil, the quotes of which were testing the level of 96 USD per
barrel. So, the oil sector, especially Surgutneftegas, showed good positive dynamics. Also
demand was indicated in the shares of the metallurgy sector (Severstal, MMC, and
Mechel). Along with that the activity of market members leaves us hoping for the better –
many investors still are out for New Year vacation.
Main events
MIA of Russia initiated a criminal case against the coal mining companies.
MIA of Russia initiated a criminal case against SUEK, Russian coal and Stroyservice
according to the item 178 of the Criminal code of Russian Federation on the fact of
collusion. FAS states that given three companies broke the law on protection of
competition having agreed on the prices of their products. Actions of the companies
leaded to the division of the coal market and also to establishment and preservation of
prices at the given market.
News briefly
Auto makers: AvtoVAZ upped the sale by 1.5 times
FACTBOX-Russian IPO market hoping for a bumper 2011
http://af.reuters.com/article/metalsNews/idAFLDE70A1PU20110112
Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:48am GMT
Kamchatka Gold
TBC
2011
Tycoon Viktor Vekselberg is targeting Hong Kong for an IPO
of his Kamchatka Gold mining firm as its assets are dependent on
Chinese demand. Vekselberg in July postponed the float until at
least 2011, but insisted it would still go ahead.
[ID:nLDE61E1PX] [ID:nLDE66E0AB]
Transaero
$200 mln
2011
Russia's second-biggest airline was plotting a $200 million
IPO in the autumn of 2010, but a source said in October its
plans had been pushed back until 2011. [ID:nLDE64K1DD]
[ID:nLDE69C0TY]
EkoNiva
TBC
Feb 2011
The Russian-German agricultural group is planning an IPO in
Frankfurt next year, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported
in September. The company declined to comment.
Yug Rusi
TBC
2011-2012
Russian agricultural holding company Yug Rusi is mulling a
London offering this year or early next, two sources said in
December 2010. [ID:nLDE6B01FX]
($1=30.77 Rouble)
(Compiled by John Bowker and Maria Kiselyova)
Russian coking coal firm KOKS plans London IPO
http://af.reuters.com/article/metalsNews/idAFLDE70B06O20110112
Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:16am GMT
MOSCOW Jan 12 (Reuters) - Russian coking coal group KOKS said on Wednesday it
would launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its shares in London and use the
proceeds to fund its investment programme.
The company said in a statement that Citi, UBS and VTB Capital were the joint
bookrunners for the offering.
(Reporting by John Bowker, Editing by Alfred Kueppers)
Koks Group IPO set to exceed $500m
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6e1f78a0-1db4-11e0-aa8800144feab49a.html#axzz1Ao1VsklO
By Catherine Belton in Moscow
Published: January 11 2011 23:04 | Last updated: January 11 2011 23:04
Russian pig iron and coking coal group, Koks Group, is set to announce a London initial
public offering that could raise more than $500m, in one of the first of a potential $25bnplus in Russian share offerings this year.
The Siberian-based group, which is the world’s number one producer of pig iron, is
seeking to issue up to 25 per cent of its shares in the form of global depositary receipts on
the London Stock Exchange, people familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.
The offering would see the opening up to public scrutiny of a well-established player in
the Russian market that has long been in the shadow of the country’s more well-known
metals giants such as Roman Abramovich’s Evraz and Alexei Mordashov’s Severstal, the
steel producers.
Koks group, which exports 80 to 90 per cent of all of its sales of pig iron, a raw material
in the production of steel, has been owned and run by Boris Zubitsky and his two sons
since 1993, a time when most of the Russian metals industry was dominated by the
London-based trader, Transworld Group.
The company’s sales are surging following reported revenues of 27bn roubles in 2009
and ebitda of 4.6bn roubles as commodity prices soar and the steel industry worldwide
recovers following the crisis. The group is seeking a valuation of up to $2.5bn in the
offering, people close to the company said.
The announcement, set to be made on Wednesday, comes after HMS Hydraulic Machines
and Systems Group, a Russian pump manufacturer, declared on Tuesday it was also
planning an IPO in London in an offering that could raise $500m.
Analysts said 2011 could mark a bumper year for Russian offerings as companies seek to
build on last year’s tentative return to equity markets following the crisis.
Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Uralsib Capital, the Moscow investment bank, said he
estimated Russian companies could raise up to $25bn this year, depending on market
conditions.
Russian companies, led by Oleg Deripaska’s UC Rusal and Mail.ru, the Facebook
investor, raised $5.5bn on international equity markets last year, after the crisis-stricken
years of 2008 and 2009 saw Russian offerings all but dry up.
Mr Weafer said Russian offerings could return to near pre-crisis boom volumes as long as
commodity prices stayed high and investor appetite remained for emerging markets.
Russian companies raised a record $30bn in equity offerings in 2007.
The expectation of rising interest rates could prompt many Russian companies that have
been sitting on the sidelines till now to seek refinancing for debts built up in the boom
years from equity markets this year, he said. Of his estimated $25bn in offerings this
year, $5 to $10bn could come from the state sector as the Russian government embarks
on an ambitious privatisation programme this year, he said.
Inter RAO UES to launch share offering
http://www.rbcnews.com/free/20110112111710.shtml
RBC, 12.01.2011, Moscow 11:17:10.Russian energy company Inter RAO UES
plans to launch on January 17 a placement of 13.8 trillion additional shares to existing
shareholders who have preemptive rights to buy the shares, the company said in a
statement today. The company's board of directors set the price of one additional share
at RUB 0.0535 (approximately USD 0.002).
According to the company, it plans to offer its additional shares privately to
several companies and a government agency after the expiration of a 45-day
preemptive right period and expects to complete the flotation sometime in April-June
2011. As Inter RAO UES's management reported earlier, the company should get
assets totaling $9bn-$15bn as payment for its additional shares.
After the share offering, the power grid company FGC UES will get a 17-20
percent stake in Inter RAO UES, the Federal Agency for State Property Management
a stake of 13-16 percent, and hydropower holding RusHydro a stake of between 5-6
percent. In addition, metal giant Norilsk Nickel is expected to receive between 13-15
percent, nuclear power corporation Rosatom about 12 percent, and Vnesheconombank
around 5 percent.
Russia rail freight rose 8.8 percent in 2010
http://www.balkans.com/open-news.php?uniquenumber=88766
Gleb Stolyarov MOSCOW - 12.01.2011
Russian rail freight, a barometer for broad economic health in the vast country
where trains are a key means of transport, rose 8.8 percent in 2010, broadly in
line with expectations, Russian Railways said on Tuesday.
The state rail monopoly transported 1.205 billion tonnes of cargo in 2010, an
improvement on the recession-hit 2009, but still around 10 percent below the precrisis level of 2007.
Russian Railways expects freight volumes to recover to pre-crisis levels no
earlier than 2013, and sees growth of over 3 percent in 2011.
Source Reuters - Balkans.com.
Russia's USC shipbuilder, Italy's Saipem in joint venture talks
http://en.rian.ru/business/20110112/162109786.html
Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation intends to create a joint venture with Italy's
Saipem to design ships for offshore oil and gas production, Kommersant business daily
said on Wednesday, quoting a source close to the corporation.
The USC board is expected to approve the deal in March-April. The joint venture will be
set up and start operating this year, the source was quoted as saying.
Saipem was not available for comment, while USC President Roman Trotsenko
confirmed the company's intention to set up the joint venture, without specifying the JV's
ownership structure.
Trotsenko said the venture would be a small engineering company with a staff of about
60 people working in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Milan-based Saipem, which operates in 35 countries, designs underwater pipelines and
platforms for offshore work and drilling rigs. The company is one of the contractors for
the Nord Stream pipeline intended to deliver Russian natural gas under the Baltic Sea to
Europe and the Sakhalin-II oil and gas project in Russia's Far East.
Partnership with Saipem will help USC regain its lost engineering potential, Mikhail Pak
from Aton investment group was quoted as saying.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
Telvent partners with Inter-Regional Distribution Grid Company of Russia to
Install Advanced Distribution Management System
http://www.iewy.com/13857-telvent-partners-with-inter-regional-distribution-gridcompany-of-russia-to-install-advanced-distribution-management-system.html
Telvent will provide smart grid solutions for one of Russia’s largest utility companies
– Telvent (NASDAQ: TLVT), the leading real-time IT solutions and information
provider for a sustainable world, announced today that the Inter-Regional Distribution
Grid Company (IDGC) of Centre Moscow will implement Telvent’s advanced
distribution management system (DMS) solution to further improve the reliability of its
electrical grid. With the implementation of this smart grid solution, the utility will be able
to reduce power losses and operational costs, while improving power quality.
IDGC is one of the largest utility providers in Russia, serving 11 regions throughout the
central and western parts of the country. With Telvent’s solution, IDGC gets full network
monitoring and control in one complete system to efficiently plan, design, and operate a
smart grid to better serve its vast consumer territory. To enhance its network reliability
and efficiency, IDGC will integrate Telvent DMS with existing components of its
infrastructure, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), outage
management system and customer relationship management software. This integration
will provide a visual and detailed model of the distribution network to achieve advanced
network analysis, fault management and energy analysis on a local and central level.
According to Telvent’s CEO, Ignacio Gonzalez, “As utilities throughout the world
upgrade to a smarter grid, more emphasis is being placed on maximizing the benefits of
distributed management systems. Telvent is proud to partner with IDGC and provide
smart grid solutions for its 15 million customers.”
IDGC and Telvent began the first of a three-phase pilot program in November 2010 and
expect to complete the DMS implementation by January 2012.
Telvent has proven experience in deploying smart grid projects throughout the world.
Today, more than 500 utilities worldwide rely on Telvent technology and solutions. Some
of the company’s most recent projects include Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
deployments for Vattenfall (Sweden), Fortum (Finland) and SCADA, DMS, GIS or OMS
projects for Consumers Energy (United States), Progress Energy (United States),
Distribution Grids of Elektra (Panama), Emcali (Colombia), Saesa (Chile) and CNFL
(Costa Rica).
January 11, 2011 3:27 PM PST
IBM to digitize records for Russian hospitals
http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20028209-247.html
IBM announced today that nine hospitals across Russia have switched from paper-based
medical systems to electronic medical records using IBM Lotus Notes.
Designed to provide fast electronic medical record (EMR) exchange and unified access to
many types of health care data, while at the same time meeting stricter medical
information requirements and more secure access to patient information in Russia, the
automation system was developed by IBM and Complex Medical Information Systems.
"It provides a single electronic tool for control, accounting and planning which leads to
improved operation and higher quality of service," says Roman Novitsky, CEO of
Complex Medical Information Systems, in a news release. "The solution consolidates all
medical, administrative and financial processes, thus creating a unified information space
at the hospital."
The system was first used by Municipal S.Z. Fisher Hospital No. 1 in Volzhsky in the
Volgograd region of Russia and is now being implemented at several other hospitals
throughout the country, including in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Pskov, Kirov, and
Vladimir.
In addition to digitizing patient records, the system also helps automate hospital work
flow, including staff scheduling, medical exam and house call scheduling, and
automating temporary disability registrations.
IBM's announcement comes on the same day that an IDC Health Insights study predicts
there will be double-digit growth in spending on ambulatory and inpatient electronic
medical record and electronic health record software between 2009 and 2015.
An IBM spokesperson tells me that nine hospitals are currently using the system, which-using the IBM Health Integration Framework--is the first health care solution in the
country to comply with all standards (HL7, HIPAA, and IHE) and "will serve as a
roadmap for other hospitals throughout Russia."
IBM's announcement comes on the same day that an IDC Health Insights study predicts
there will be double-digit growth in spending on ambulatory and inpatient electronic
medical record and electronic health record software between 2009 and 2015.
GAZ Aims to Reach GM, VW Production Deals in Russia Next Month
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aaASrmIicmAg
By Ola Kinnander
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- OAO GAZ, the automaker controlled by billionaire Oleg
Deripaska, aims to reach deals with General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG by the end
of next month to produce cars in Russia, GAZ Chief Executive Officer Bo Andersson
said.
“The negotiations with Volkswagen and GM have been going well and I am convinced
we can finish the talks with a positive result before the end of February,” Andersson said
in a phone interview yesterday as he was travelling to Smolensk, Russia.
GAZ would make annually 30,000 to 40,000 Chevrolet Aveos for GM and about 100,000
cars for VW at its Nizhny Novgorod factory, said Andersson, a former GM purchasing
executive.
Russian car sales rose 80 percent in November, the most in two years, as auto deliveries
rebounded from a 49 percent slump in 2009. Russia’s economy will probably return to
pre-crisis levels by the end of 2011, a year earlier than planned, Finance Minister Alexei
Kudrin said Dec. 29. Oil output set a post- Soviet record in 2010, the Energy Ministry
said this month.
“It’s sort of a race to try to build up a local supply base in Russia,” said Andrew Close, an
analyst with IHS Automotive in London. “It’s quite a sensible strategic move for these
sorts of joint ventures to be pursued in Russia.”
GAZ, the market leader in Russia for sales of light trucks and buses, stopped making its
own passenger cars on Oct. 31 because its market share was too small and it was losing
money on that business, Andersson said.
Production Deals
GM is in talks with GAZ to produce cars in Russia, spokesman Stefan Weinmann said in
an e-mailed statement, declining to provide additional information. Volkswagen said Oct.
20 it was discussing “possible cooperation” with GAZ to expand production in Russia.
VW didn’t reply to requests yesterday for comment.
Striking production deals with foreign automakers is a way for GAZ to get money back
on $500 million in investments made at the car plant, Andersson said.
“By doing this we’ll fully utilize those investments,” he said. “Right now we have one of
the most modern passenger car factories in Russia, and it’s not being used.”
GAZ on Dec. 23 agreed with Daimler AG to produce Mercedes- Benz Sprinter vans for
the world’s largest truckmaker, also in Nizhny Novgorod. Output may total about 25,000
units a year, Daimler said. Fiat SpA, Italy’s biggest automaker, and OAO Sollers
announced plans last February to create a 2.4 billion- euro ($3.1 billion) joint venture in
Russia to build as many as 500,000 cars a year by 2016.
GAZ’s sales rose 47 percent last year, Andersson said, declining to specify the amount or
whether the company made a profit. Last October he said revenue in 2010 would be
about $3 billion and that the company was likely to make a “very, very small” profit for
the first time since 2007.
GAZ aims to boost sales from 20 percent to 25 percent this year and should post a “clear”
profit, he said yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Kinnander in Stockholm at
[email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at
[email protected]
Last Updated: January 11, 2011 18:01 EST
Russian oligarch increases HMV stake
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/997da1c2-1db7-11e0-aa8800144feab49a.html#axzz1Ao1VsklO
By Claer Barrett and Courtney Weaver
Published: January 11 2011 21:06 | Last updated: January 11 2011 21:06
Shares in HMV staged a minor rally on Tuesday on news that Russian oligarch
Alexander Mamut has raised his stake in the troubled entertainment retailer to more than
6 per cent.
At a time when HMV is facing calls from analysts to break itself up after poor Christmas
trading threatened to breach banking covenants, the arrival of Mr Mamut as a potential
suitor for the business could not be better timed.
On Monday, HMV’s shares fell seven per cent following a downgrade from UBS which
stated: “We now expect HMV to suspend the dividend in advance of a potential covenant
renegotiation.”
On Tuesday HMV’s shares rose 2 per cent in early trading before closing the day flat at
25p.
The group is currently restructuring its portfolio of 600 HMV and Waterstone’s stores in
an attempt to cut £15m ($23m) of property costs.
Retailers ready to pay premium to take over stores
Retailers including Apple, Hollister, TK Maxx and Poundland have indicated they are
prepared to offer substantial premiums to take over existing HMV and Waterstone’s
stores, writes Claer Barrett.
The entertainment retailer issued a profit warning last week saying it would dispose of 60
stores to remedy a potential breach in banking covenants.
However, HMV is struggling to reconcile the pain of disposing of its most sought-after
property assets in big cities and market towns, which would command large cash sums
from other retailers, but represent its most profitable stores.
Insiders said about a quarter of the disposal programme involved lease expiries, where
the retailer can simply walk away.
HMV has said it is keen to shed property in locations where it has more than one store,
while retailers are being sought to take on existing leases, although HMV has invited bids
without disclosing a full list of stores it wishes to exit.
“Of all the premium sites they occupy, there wasn’t a single one our clients wanted that
they would consider coming out of,” said the adviser to several high street names after
meeting with the group.
In November, US retailer Forever 21 paid HMV a £13.7m premium to take over one of
its stores on Oxford Street.
HMV refused to comment on rising bid speculation or reports that Mr Mamut has had
meetings with its board.
It said: “We have a good dialogue with all of our shareholders.”
Mr Mamut, 49, was not prepared to comment on bid speculation but hopes are growing in
the music industry that he could emerge as a white knight.
“I can’t comment on the individual, but someone showing an interest in HMV doesn’t
surprise us,” said Brian Rose, managing director of the commercial division of Universal
Music, which boasts artists such as Jay-Z and Mariah Carey.
“HMV is a trusted brand with a unique position on the high street, and an offer that still
appeals to millions of people.
“Without HMV our retail landscape would be very similar to the US, which is not that
healthy a picture.”
Mr Mamut trained as a lawyer but has risen to prominence as an investor in Russian
media and technology businesses. Loyal to the Kremlin and reputedly a close friend of
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, he has a controlling stake in Evroset, described
by analysts as “the Russian Carphone Warehouse”, which is planning a dual London
listing this year.
Analysts have drawn parallels with HMV’s tie-up with mobile phone provider Orange,
speculating that Mr Mamut’s involvement could herald a “change of direction” for the
retailer, which is struggling against the online erosion of its marketplace.
Mr Mamut holds a 50 per cent stake in SUP Media, one of Russia’s most powerful
internet media companies which runs online news and blogging platforms, and about
one-third of Bookberry, a Russian book chain that filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009
in which Waterstone’s founder Tim Waterstone, 72, once owned a stake.
His spokesman said it “was not Tim’s policy to talk about these things”.
Renaissance Capital Appoints Clifford Sacks as Africa CEO
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-01-12/renaissance-capital-appoints-cliffordsacks-as-africa-ceo.html
January 12, 2011, 2:50 AM EST
By Vernon Wessels
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Renaissance Capital, the Russian emerging-markets bank,
appointed Clifford Sacks, the head of its South African unit, as chief executive officer of
its African business.
Sacks will be responsible for “the day-to-day management and implementation of
Renaissance’s pan-African strategy across all products and entities,” the Moscow-based
bank said in an e- mailed statement today. “In 2011, the firm will continue to build its
presence in Africa, both in terms of market share and geographic expansion.”
RenCap has six operational offices and more than 120 people in Africa.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at
[email protected]
For the Record
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/for-the-record/428354.html
12 January 2011
Russia’s annual inflation rate accelerated last month to 8.8 percent, the highest in a year,
the State Statistics Service said, revising its Jan. 5 estimate for price growth of 8.7
percent. (Bloomberg)
Pump manufacturer HMS Hydraulic Machines and Systems Group is planning an initial
public share offer in London, the company said Monday, aiming to raise about $500
million. (Reuters)
BEIJING — China will likely import 1.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from Russia
this year, up 22 percent from the 980 million kwh in 2010, China Electric Power News
reported on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP agreed to acquire equal stakes in a company that holds
licenses to develop the Messoyakha oil and gas fields in the Arctic region, and will spend
up to $18 billion to develop the deposits, according to a joint statement issued Tuesday.
(Bloomberg)
Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)
Russian Oil Producers Halt Deliveries to Belarus, Vedomosti Says
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=adxBjI3cUyWo
By Anton Doroshev
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Russian oil producers halted deliveries to Belarus as pricing
negotiations drag on, Vedomosti reported, citing Marina Kostyuchenko, a spokeswoman
for Belneftekhim, the Belarusian oil company.
Shipments to Europe are continuing as normal and Belarusian refineries have sufficient
crude supplies to last to the end of the month, the newspaper said, citing Kostyuchenko.
Belneftekhim’s press service wasn’t available for comment when called by Bloomberg
late yesterday and today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anton Doroshev at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Torrey Clark at [email protected]
Last Updated: January 12, 2011 01:35 EST
Belarus has enough oil to last until late Jan. - paper
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110112/162109514.html
11:03 12/01/2011
Belarusian oil refineries have enough crude oil to operate until late January following the
latest suspension of supplies by Russian companies, the Vedomosti business daily said on
Wednesday.
Russia introduced duties on crude oil exports to Belarus in 2010 to prevent its ex-Soviet
neighbor from making profits by re-exporting Russian oil products to the EU.
Under a Russian-Belarusian deal on a common economic space, signed in early
December 2010, Russia agreed to scrap tariffs on crude oil supplies to Belarus from
January 1 on condition that Belarus returned to Russia all duties received from selling on
refined oil.
The agreement was ratified by the Belarusian parliament on December 21-22, but
Moscow's ambassador to Minsk accused Belarus of dragging its feet on the contract a day
later. Belarus's state-controlled petrochemicals company Belneftekhim then said it had
expected the deal to be initialized after the New Year holidays, which ended on January
11.
But negotiations on the deal are still ongoing with prices being the main sticking point,
Belneftekhim spokeswoman Marina Kostyuchenko told Vedomosti on Wednesday.
Kostyuchenko said she had no idea when the treaty would be initialized, but added that
the transit of Russian oil to Europe would continue under the normal regime.
Russia is expected to supply 21.7 million metric tons of crude oil to Belarus in 2011. Top
Russian officials estimate that the common economic space deal, if it comes into force,
will result in Russia losing $5.3 billion and Belarus saving $3.9 billion.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)
12.01.2011
Ukraine Counting on EU involvement in Gas Negotiations Between Kiev and
Moscow
http://www.oilandgaseurasia.com/news/p/0/news/10283
The Ukrainian government is stepping up negotiations with Russia and the European
Union to modernize the country's gas pipeline, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azrov
said during a meeting with EU Commission member Stefan Füle.
"The government will continue to try to achieve progress in negotiations with the Russian
Federation on gas supplies and gas transit. I hope that the EU will move active in this
regard. EVeryone needs to realise that Russia produces gas, the European Union
consumes it and Ukraine pumps Russian gas to consumers", Azarov stressed.
Copyright 2010, Oil and Gas Information Agency. All rights reserved.
12.01.2011
Gas production in Russia Reaches Pre-Crisis Levels
http://www.oilandgaseurasia.com/news/p/0/news/10282
Data from 2010 shows that gas production in Russia exceeded 2009 levels by 11.6
percent at a volume of 650 billion cubic meters of gas, the Russian Economy Ministry
Statistics Department has reported. This is on par with volumes produced in 2007.
Production grew mainly due to increased domestic demand and in Ukraine and Belarus.
Experts believe this will put Russia back as the world's largest gas producer. Russia fell
behind the United States in 2009, Energyland reports.
Copyright 2010, Vslukh. All rights reserved.
Aramco to buy up to 360000 tonnes of gasoline from BP and Lukoil
http://www.steelguru.com/middle_east_news/Aramco_to_buy_up_to_360000_tonnes_of
_gasoline_from_BP_and_Lukoil/185641.html
Wednesday, 12 Jan 2011
Reuters reported that State oil giant Saudi Aramco has sealed a deal to purchase up to
360,000 tonnes of gasoline over six months from BP and Lukoil at below market prices.
Officials at BP and Lukoil could not immediately be reached for comment. The world's
top crude exporter concluded a deal to purchase 95 octane and 91 octane from January
through June at a premium of USD 15 to USD 16 and USD 5 to USD 6 over the
benchmark Mediterranean quote.
It also has an option to purchase 95 octane at USD 2 to USD 2.10 over Singapore
benchmark quotes and 91 octane at a premium of USD 1.90 to USD 2 over the Singapore
benchmark.
An Asian based gasoline trader said that "These are really crazy prices; it's below where
the market really is. The market isn't particularly that weak, so they really have got quite
a good deal here."
Demand for gasoline in Saudi Arabia is growing at 5.1% annually. The kingdom
typically imports between 60,000 barrels per day to 70,000 barrels per day of the motor
fuel.
Gazprom
Gazprom Neft to be operator of new Arctic oilfield
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE70A0VO20110111
Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:59pm GMT
MOSCOW Jan 11 (Reuters) - BP's (BP.L) Russian oil venture and the oil arm of state gas
monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) tightened their grip on a major Arctic oil and gas field,
putting themselves in position to finance and develop the huge deposit.
The two companies said on Tuesday they acquired the license holder for the giant
Messoyakha field on the Arctic Yamal peninsula, from their joint venture Slavneft,
putting the project under their direct control.
Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM) was also granted operatorship of the field on the Yamal
peninsula, one of Russia's most promising new oil provinces but also one of its most
challenging due to extreme cold and remote locations.
Gazprom and TNK-BP (TNBPI.RTS), controlled by the British major and a consortium
of local tycoons, have a history of strained relations, particularly over Kovykta, a giant
Siberian gas project controlled by TNK-BP and due to be auctioned off after bankruptcy
proceedings.
But the two have managed to co-exist as joint owners of Slavneft.
The licence transfer would position them to develop the field more efficiently, they said.
"By directly managing the asset, the shareholders will be able to promptly make key
decisions, simplify financing procedures for this large-scale investment program and
expand borrowing opportunities," the statement said.
"The investment into Messoyakha fields development is preliminary estimated at $15-18
billion."
They gave no time frame for the investments in Messoyakha, which has 560 million
tonnes of oil reserves and 230 billion cubic metres of gas.
TNK-BP, which counts Messoyakha as one of the key elements of its greenfield
expansion programme in Russia's Arctic north, has put a potential start-up date of 201516 on its Yamal projects, where early development is under way.
A TNK-BP spokesman said by email that the licence transfer would not alter the time
frame for the field's development.
The company claims 3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent on the Yamal projects, including
its share of Messoyakha, with 3.2 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The Russian-British joint venture has set a capital spending target of $4.6 billion for
2011. (Writing by Melissa Akin; editing by Alison Birrane)
11.01.2011
Gazprom Neft, TNK-BP to Acquire Stakes in Messoyakhaneftegaz
http://www.oilandgaseurasia.com/news/p/0/news/10274
Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP have agreed to acquire 50% stakes each in CJSC
“Messoyakhaneftegaz”, owner of development licenses for the group of Messoyakha oil
and gas fields in the north of the Yamal Peninsula.
Messoyakhaneftegaz belongs to the Slavneft group of companies owned by Gazprom
Neft and TNK-BP on a parity basis. Following assessment of the prospects of developing
the Messoyakha fields, and also considering the scope of the project, the Slavneft
shareholders reached agreement on creating a joint venture with the purpose of
developing the project.
By directly managing the asset, the shareholders will be able to promptly make key
decisions, simplify financing procedures for this large-scale investment program and
expand borrowing opportunities. The investment into Messoyakha fields development is
preliminary estimated at $15-18 billion.
Gazprom Neft will be the operator of the project.
The development of the fields will require the shareholders to tackle a wide range of
engineering, technical and logistical challenges associated with severe climate conditions
and absence of infrastructure in the north of Yamal. Combining the experience and
technologies of the two companies will ensure efficient project implementation.
Gazprom Neft Board Chairman Alexandr Dukov noted that “acquisition of
Messoyakhaneftegaz will enable us, jointly with TNK-BP, to begin developing large
fields in Russia’s new oil production region. By participating in the project, Gazprom
Neft is going to gain new experience in executing projects “from scratch” in the harsh
conditions of the Polar Region. On top of that, development of Messoyakha fields will be
another step towards the company creating an oil production hub in the north of Yamal. It
will also ensure synergy with Gazprom Neft’s other strategic projects in the region”.
“In line with TNK-BP strategy, Yamal projects are going to play a decisive role in the
company’s business in the next five years,” said TNK-BP COO Bill Schrader. ”This
region is becoming a new major oil and gas hub in Russia and one of TNK-BP’s centers
of growth. The success of these plans will be largely determined by the support of the
government and by creating the necessary infrastructure”.
Copyright 2010, Gazprom. All rights reserved.
Gazprom may reach pre-crisis output by end 2011
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE70A1P920110111
Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:37pm GMT
MOSCOW Jan 11 (Reuters) - Russia's gas export monopoly, Gazprom (GAZP.MM),
may reach pre-crisis gas production levels by end-2011 if the economy continues its
rebound, Chief Executive Alexei Miller said on Tuesday.
"If the Russian economy keeps up this pace of recovery, then by the end of 2011 we
could reach pre-crisis gas production levels," Miller was quoted as saying in a Gazprom
press release.
In 2010, the state-owned company, the world's largest gas producer, produced 508.6
billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas while in 2008 it produced 549.7 bcm.
(Reporting Jessica Bachman, editing by Toni Vorobyova)
Media: The rural population of Armenia abandon natural gas
http://www.regnum.ru/news/polit/1363532.html
GOOGLE TRANSLATION
Armenian population in fear from rising gas prices. And when in April it rose again, it's
hard to say what's left of forests in Armenia, the newspaper Hraparak.
According to the newspaper, a horrifying situation in the Kotayk region of the republic the rural population en masse abandoned gas even began to sell the famous Iranian gas
ovens. There have calculated that the best buy for 15 thousand drams cubic meters of
firewood and normally bask than paying monthly for 40-50 thousand for gas and
vegetate.
A lot of those who used a gas and is unable to pay for it, writes Hraparak ", noting that
once again began to use wood in the capital, where for several years as there was no
smoke from the chimneys.
"Wood-burning stoves were installed even in a few wealthy district of Komitas," stresses
the newspaper.
As earlier informed news agency REGNUM, deputy chairman of Gazprom, Andrei
Kruglov said that in Armenia, Belarus and Moldova continues the process of transition to
market prices. "We expect price increases in this region. And also expect to see in these
countries transition to market prices in 2011"
From 1 April 2010 the Armenian population of 1 cubic meter of natural gas paid 132
dram (33 cents), up 37.5% above the previous rate of 96 drams (24 cents).
In December last year, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan said
that the government is taking all possible measures to prevent the increase of tariffs on
imported from Russian natural gas.