A sanguine Vladimir Putin has told a regional conference that he expects Russia’s GDP to grow 4.2-4.3% this year. According to this report, stress tests have shown that should a debt crisis rattle the euro zone, Russia’s banks would survive, but at a cost of around $12 billion. The Bank of Moscow alone would require $2.5 billion in capital if the aforementioned happened. Following a trip to the Amur region by delegates, North Korea has expressed an interest in renting swathes of land in the Far East to cultivate food for its population. Treading on thin ice? The Moscow Times has a report on the progress of the Kremlin’s $2 billion skiing infrastructure plans for the violence-pocked North Caucasus.