Today in Russian Business – Jan 27, 2012

From the World Economic Forum in Davos, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov considers the most complicated issues facing Russia’s economy.  The FT’s Gideon Rachman suggests that Shuvalov failed to convince assembled investors that rule of law is correctly observed in Russia.  According to Ria-Novosti, the size of the average bribe in Russia more than tripled in 2011 to $7866.  VTB chief Andrei Kostin has said that the fears of foreign investors regarding political shifts in Russia have been exaggerated by the Western press.  The bank, Russia’s second largest, could apparently issue and sell new shares to the market as part of further privatization.  Alexei Ulyukayev, first deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, discusses the need for honest elections and a host of economic issues in a video interview with Bloomberg.  The IMF representative for Russia, Odd Per Brekk, warns that Russia may be more vulnerable to an external economic shock than it was in 2008.  Vladimir Putin reminds observers there’s an election coming with a display of largesse: the Prime Minister has suggested that retirement benefits be increased from February 1 by 7% percent, instead of the initially planned 6.1%, and proposed free flights for soccer fans to the UEFA cup in June.  Russian precious metals miner Polymetal has denied it is in talks with gold miner Polyus about a possible merger of the two companies.