Today in Russian Business – April 10, 2012

Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny has highlighted a possible misuse of state funds in a weekend trip to an Italian resort by Volgograd Governor Sergei Bozhenov and some 40 regional officials and their families.  A spokesperson for the region’s governor has defended the ‘short business trip’ as an attempt ‘to show the economic potential of the Volgograd region’.  Moscow economic crime police have apparently detained a man caught trying to sell a job in the city government for $40,000.  Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has reiterated his warnings about the fragility of Russia’s economy, arguing that its precariousness could lead to regime change.   The Finance Ministry has amended its suggestions for the estimated price of oil on which federal budget spending would be predicated in 2013-15 to $103, $98 and $89 per barrel in the three years, respectively.  Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has proposed to quadruple funding for the construction of housing for the military by 2014.  The FT reports on renewed interest in Russian agriculture, with the caveat that billions of dollars in investment are required if this sector is to realize its potential.  President Medvedev has confirmed that he would like to see the boundaries of Moscow extended to incorporate the Skolkovo innovation hub.  According to new statistics, more Russians are putting money aside compared with the start of the century, at 76% of people surveyed today, with 46% registered 8 years ago. Russia has accused neighbor and sparring partner Georgia of bringing African Swine Fever into southern Russia.  Prime Minister Putin has announced that pensions will be raised by 30% by 2014.  Belarus and Russia have apparently resolved their passenger air transportation spat.