Today in Russian Business – May 23, 2012

First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev has told the press that Russia’s economy may expand faster than the government estimates this year, as the country proves relatively insulated against the euro-region debt crisis.   The OECD believes now is no time for Russia to rest on its laurels, despite giving it a higher forecast for GDP growth this year.  President Putin has ordered has creation of a new ministry in charge of Far East development and the government is apparently hoping that the creation of a special gambling zone near the port city of Vladivostok will entice investors.  The President has made the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, which deals with money laundering, answerable to him in a new decree.  Russian airline Aeroflot may increase its 2011 dividends by 66% from 2010, says Ria-Novosti.  Finland’s Kesko Oyj is hoping to open its first Russian K-citymarket food store in St. Petersburg at the end of the year.  Having jumped 25 spots, Sberbank has apparently beaten Mobile TeleSystems to become the strongest Russian brand in the world, according to an annual global brands ranking.  Can Renault overcome Russians’ deep-seated distrust of the Lada?