Today in Russia Business – Sept 9, 2011

In light of Wednesday’s plane crash, President Dmitry Medvedev has touted safety over protectionism, pledging that domestic airlines should buy foreign-made jets if necessary.  Aeroflot, which only uses foreign planes, has announced it has offered to become the K.H.L.’s official carrier.  Safety issues are a major obstacle to Vladimir Putin’s aim of rocketing Russia’s economy into the top rankings, says Bloomberg: ‘The number of deadly accidents rules out coincidence and points to fundamental problems with ageing infrastructure and the rule of law […] This is certainly casting a shadow on Russia aspiring to become a world class economy.’  At the heart of David Cameron’s rapprochement with Russia lies business, argues this article.  Hermitage Capital Management has apparently released a new report about how state officials implicated in the death of its lawyer Sergei Magnitsky made off with $33 million of state money through illegal tax refunds.  The Moscow office of the International Finance Club bank, owned partly by Right Cause leader Mikhail Prokhorov, has been subject to a police raid.  Food giant Nestle is apparently in talks to buy Russia’s fifth biggest babyfood producer, Progress.  Wal-Mart Stores Inc has appointed Lev Khasis, the former head of Russia’s biggest food retailer X5  as a senior vice-president.  Bloomberg reports that Georgia may not support Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization until customs transparency has improved.  Sberbank has reportedly agreed to buy Oesterreichische Volksbanken’s eastern European operations, excluding its unit in Romania, as the bank seeks to gain a foothold outside the former Soviet Union.  Russian car sales rose 32% year-on-year in August.  More comparisons between Singapore and Russia from the Moscow Times.  Is Russia serious about plans to construct a tunnel linking Alaska and Siberia?