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Today in Russian Business – Dec 20, 2011

Vladimir Putin has drawn attention to asset-stripping schemes uncovered at energy companies by announcing his ‘disappointment’ and calling on the Energy Ministry to investigate all partially state-owned companies for similar schemes.  He also urged Russian companies to end their use of offshore structures to funnel cash out of Russia.  Meanwhile capital outflows, which ‘reflect unease about the country’s political outlook’, show no signs of abating.  The Moscow Times reports on the first day of trading at the new MICEX-RTS bourse, which sparked concerns by halting equity futures trading on its first day.  Losses were also apparently sustained at the bourse after ‘an unprecedented computer glitch’.  Three Russian companies, Evraz, Polymetal and CRH, have gone blue-chip in London this week.  Moscow’s top office tenants are apparently IT companies, accounting for 24% of all of the city’s office space this year.  Warehouse space is also booming.  A Swedish national and former IKEA executive in Russia has been charged in absentia with extortion.  A United Aircraft Corporation spokesperson says that the company is not alarmed by the potential loss of protective tariffs on aviation stemming from Russia’s World Trade Organization accession, as Aeroflot celebrates a 36% rise in year-on-year profits.  How will Russian lenders weather the coming storm of closed international debt markets that could force them to rely on the state?  Kazakhstan is celebrating current levels of bilateral trade with Russia being at $20 billion.  Germany’s Siemens has reported a €600 million order for high speed trains from Russian Railways.