Today in Russian Business – April 20, 2012

According to Forbes’ annual rich list, Vladimir Lisin has fallen from the top spot in the list of Russian billionaires as a drop in steel prices reduced the value of his main asset, Novolipetsk Steel.  Facebook investor Alisher Usmanov, who made his fortune in metals and telecoms, has stolen the top spot.  Thanks to strong demand in its key markets and divesting itself of loss making units, steel giant Severstal posted a net profit of $2.04 billion in 2011.  MegaFon General Director Sergei Soldatenkov may step down from his role at the telecoms major in order to move to a government post.  The firm may float a stake of up to 20%, worth $4 billion, on the London Stock Exchange in the second half of 2012, says this report.  VTB CEO Andrey Kostin talks to the Washington Post about privatizations in a video interview.  Siegfried Wolf, CEO of Russian Machines describes to Bloomberg how be believes Russia will overtake Germany in automobile manufacturing.  The Finance Ministry apparently disagrees with  79% of the special spending requests it has received for the three-year budget, including the sums requested by Putin for housing for veterans and the disabled.  A Russian anti-trust regulator intends to contest the recent increase by Telenor of its stake in mobile operator Vimpelcom, on the basis that Norwegian telecoms group acted illegally.  Can one survive on Russia’s minimum wage?