Today in Russian Business – Sept 26, 2011

Prior to his announcement on returning to the Presidency, Putin spoke to the United Russia congress of the ‘bitter pills’ of retrenchment, as the Micex made a startling tumble on Friday.  The following day, he outlined a set of policy initiatives which included the surprising suggestion that Russia’s wealthy should pay higher taxes than average citizens, indicating an acknowledgement of the popular discontent generated by the wealth gap.  ‘A third presidential term for Putin is ‘far from all doom and gloom’, argues the Moscow Times, which offers ‘five reasons for foreign investors to cheer Putin’s announcement’.  The chief economist from Renaissance Capital might disagree, having predicted that the news of Putin’s return may be taken ‘negatively’ by international investors when the markets open today.  Bloomberg reports on fears of Brezhnevian-type economic stagnation bleakening Russia’s future.  Will Medvedev’s innovation and pro-business reform emphasis be lost with Putin’s return? wonders the New York Times.  It seems that billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s moment of political exile continues; despite being known for his innovative Yo-mobile hybrid car, he has been excluded from Medvedev’s commission on economic modernization.  Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has weighed in in favor of Europe finding a solution to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt, which could have a cataclysmic knock-on effect on Spain and Italy.  A Moscow court has thrown out a lawsuit by tycoon Alexander Lebedev against the FSB, the first of its kind against the security services, claiming damages for a search by police of his bank last year.