Today in Russian Business – April 20, 2011

A former Soviet dissident and the head of Radio Liberty have opened a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, pressing him to remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions.  Russian customs officials say they have discovered radioactivity in seven cars imported from Japan.  LiveJournal investor Alexander Mamut has bought a 3.5% stake in Uralkali.  Russia has planted just half of its usual sugar-beet crop this year due to weather conditions.  Kazakhstan wants Russia and Belarus to form ‘coherent currency policies‘ among members of their customs union in order to avoid sharp devaluations.  Bloomberg is running a video interview with Alexei Navalny in which he discusses current corruption allegations against Transneft, and calls Rosneft, VTB, and Gazprom Russia’s most corrupt businesses, making reference to ‘abrasive salaries‘ for company friends and relatives. Navalny also suggests that Igor Sechin’s resignation of his Rosneft post will not make much difference to the company’s activities.  It has been announced that executives from Morgan Stanley and Interfax will replace Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina and Kremlin adviser Arkady Dvorkovich on the board of Sberbank, as the Independent Directors Association advises that Russia needs to draw up rules for picking independent directors of state-controlled firms.  Reuters reports on the revival of the helicopter industry with Russian Helicopter’s plans for a market flotation.  The secretary of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA) says that Russia’s main task in terms of improving investment is to overcome negative perceptions of its business climate.