Today in Russian Business – July 20, 2011

President Medvedev’s talks in Hanover with Chancellor Angela Merkel have heralded strengthened trade ties, with the former suggesting that ‘this year we will most likely reach a record post-crisis turnover between our economies’. Among the agreements, Russia will permit Gemany companies to exploit its rare earth deposits.  The price of security: the Moscow Times reports on the spiraling costs of the Kremlin’s North Caucasus policy, designed to pacify a region ravaged by separatist violence.  A high-ranking official has warned that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics might end up being the most expensive in history.  Cell phone operator MegaFon has closed its online service to text messaging following the leak of some 8,000 messages. Alexander Lebedev, the billionaire owner of the London Evening Standard newspaper has told Bloomberg that were he to sell some of his other assets, he could be ‘very interested’ in remaking Rupert Murdoch’s doomed News of the World.  Meanwhile one of the tycoon’s other assets, airline Aeroflot, is being slowed by defective jets.  Having weathered the storms of communism and capitalism, the Avtovaz car factory marks its 45th jubilee today.