International ratings agency Standard & Poor has reportedly forecast that Russia’s gross domestic product growth is to slow to 3.5% in 2012, from 4.2% in 2011. Despite upheavals in exports to long-standing Arab clients and rivalry with China, Russia managed to set an arms export record in 2011 at $13.2 billion. According to Ria-Novosti, 2012 will herald the start of a Russia-Vietnam joint venture to produce modified anti-ship missiles. US retail giant Wal-Mart is apparently still eying investment opportunities in Russia, whose top retailer by sales, X5, has denied a report that it is in talks to sell its Karusel hypermarket chain to the US giant for $2 billion. Top shopping website Ozon.ru has extended its accessories range with the purchase of fashion retailer Sapato.ru. Sberbank has concluded a $660.5 million deal to buy the international arm of Austria’s Volksbank, at a discount. Apparently Russia’s largest lender is in no hurry to acquire assets in Turkey or Poland, the two states it has identified for possible takeovers. Norway’s Telenor has managed to regain part control of telecom firm Vimpelcom from Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group, in a long-running corporate dispute. The Moscow Times examines disability and the job market.