Today in Russian Business – Nov 18, 2011

The central bank is calling on the state to exercise caution in assisting big banks, saying that support for such institutions should come from the institutions themselves: ‘It must be debt conversion into shares and shareholders’ pain.’  The Kremlin has exempted many sectors, including services in education and medicine, from profit tax.  Germany’s Lufthansa is shifting its Moscow-Berlin flights over to the state-controlled Vnukovo airport next year: ‘an unpleasant early New Year’s gift for privately run Domodedovo’.  The head of an eye clinic whose assets include stables and a plane ticket selling service has been fired over corruption allegations; the allegations are denied by his supporters, who allege corruption among his denouncers.  The Moscow Times interviews National Bank Trust president Nikolai Fetisov.  Boris Berezovsky denies sending threatening texts to potential witnesses in his lawsuit against Roman Abramovich.  Sources estimate a target date for the creation of a Eurasian Union incorporating Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as 2015, as early measures on economic integration are discussed in Moscow.  The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which will become operational next year, will operate on the premise that if foreign investors aren’t interested, it will not partake in a deal.  Russia’s accession to the WTO will likely speed up its membership bid for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.