Today in Russian Business – Oct 31, 2011

According to Reuters, Swiss mediators believe that a deal on Russia joining the WTO is imminent, after 18 years of negotiations.  President Medvedev has thanked visiting Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey for helping to assuage the doubts of WTO member Georgia.  A number of US politicians have warned that Russia must reach a high standard in its accession package if the Jackson-Vanik amendment is to be revoked.  In Russia, public support for joining the WTO is not strong, says this article, but accession will send the message that ‘Russia is a predictable place […] Russia is rational’.  The Moscow Times reports that foreign interest in the political climate in Russia is decreasing.  The Kremlin’s top economic adviser, Arkady Dvorkovich, has apparently said that Russia is willing to help Europe tackle its debt crisis by making a ‘few billion dollars’ (as much as ten, says Businessweek) available via the International Monetary Fund.  Russia’s richest man, Vladimir Lisin, has purchased Freight One cargo company for $4.2 billion (earning him 75% minus two shares of the company) through his Independent Transport Company, brushing aside competition from Gennady Timchenko’s Transoil.  Meanwhile Timchenko, co-owner of Gunvor trading house, has expanded his business portfolio by buying a 37.5% stake in Sibur, Russia’s largest petrochemical company.