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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Nov 13, 2013

TODAY: Siemens to pay up over bribes to ‘Gazprom’ heads; Navalny’s assets frozen; nationalist shooting; rights groups condemn UN Rights Council decision; Council of Europe wants overhaul of Russian justice system; Putin speaks to South Korea station about power; Rosneft signs deals with BP, Vietnam; Borodin laundering case; Tolokonnikova whereabouts revealed.

A subsidiary of Germany’s Siemens will pay almost $11 million in fines after admitting that it failed to prevent the paying of bribes into the Swiss bank accounts of senior executives of the unnamed company that reports say is almost certainly Gazprom.  In connection with the money laundering cases against them, the assets of both Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg have been frozen.  In the latest example of Russia’s growing nationalist sentiment, a leader of the Migrants Federation was shock in the back yesterday.  Various rights groups have condemned the news that, together with China and Saudia Arabia, Russia has been elected to the UN’s Human Rights Council in spite of its human rights record.  The Council of Europe urged President Putin to overhaul Russia’s judicial system.  In a new interview largely discussing issues of trade and energy, Putin revealed to a South Korean network that a recent accolade from Forbes magazine (who called him the world’s most powerful person) made him ‘cautious, and that it could limit him ‘let’s say, in making decisions,’ if he did not take care to ignore it.  Russia wants Poland to apologise after a far-right attack on the Russian embassy in Warsaw.

Rosneft’s board has approved a $6 billion supply deal with BP.  Both Gazprom and Rosneft signed numerous deals with Petrovietnam yesterday during President Vladimir Putin’s official visit; Rosatom will help Vietnam build its first nuclear power plant.  South Korea and Russia are setting up a $500 million joint fund to stimulate direct investment and trade links.  Sberbank will cut 30,000 jobs over the next five years in a bid to double profits.  A money laundering case has been opened against former president of the Bank of Moscow, Andrei Borodin.  Officials in Murmansk have been banned from using a list of specific phrases that may encourage bribery.  Analysts say Moscow does not have the skilled workforce required to realise its goal of becoming an international financial hub.

Official news of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s whereabouts has finally surfaced; the Pussy Riot member has been transferred to a penal colony in Krasnoyarsk, her native region, apparently in a bid to help her ‘resocialise’.

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) embraces Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang after a co-operation signing ceremony between Russia and Vietnam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam November 12, 2013. Putin is on a one-day official visit to Vietnam as part of his Asian tour. REUTERS/Na Son Nguyen/Pool