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Today in Russian Business – Aug 4, 2011

Viktor Vekselberg has been accused of having links with a suspicious Moscow real estate deal.  On the growing Russian popularity of the U.S. chain Subway, which anticipates that it will surpass McDonalds in sales by next year.  The New York Times reports on the U.S. fast food industry’s increasing clout in Russia.  PayPal is planning to start a Russian business, with a $25 million investment and an office in Moscow in the pipelines.  Melting ice in the Arctic is opening trade routes from Asia to the West, allowing for icebreaker-free sailing on most routes and raising hopes of Russia making the Arctic passage a competitor to the Suez Canal.  Sberbank says that social spending in Saudi Arabia is helping to support world oil prices and, consequently, the Russian economy.  ING Groep, is anticipating a 16% decline in second-quarter sales on the back of President Dmitry Medvedev’s law restricting liquor advertising.  Russia’s current grain exports are priced at up to $30 per ton cheaper than market price, in a bid to win back a strong market position.  The first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Gennady Melikyan, has stepped down.  Taxi drivers are protesting new measures that call for cabs, country-wide, to comply to certain standards including uniform colors and working meters.  JPMorgan Chase is apparently recommending that investors buy shares in Yandex and Mail.ru, in anticipation of next year’s online advertising growth.  Is Vladimir Lisin Russia’s richest man?