The CEO of Raiffeisen Bank, which has a strong presence in Russia, says that Vladimir Putin has guaranteed stability and continuing democratic reforms, and says he supports this: ‘I’m absolutely convinced that there is a permanent process going on, even if it’s slow when it comes to democratic changes.’ Rostelecom is completing its takeover of National Telecommunications, which supplies fixed-line Internet and paid television, buying a 28.2% stake for $446 million. Steel giant Severstal will spend $1.7 billion this year on upgrades and modernisations. Warm weather is negatively affecting the Russian timber trade and, subsequently, the economy that relies on it. Russia’s PACE delegate has spoken out against EU sanctions on Belarus. Aeroflot is planning to double its fleet by 2014.