Today in Russian Business – April 21, 2011

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland says it has officially launched a criminal investigation in relation to money laundering, but has stopped short of naming the suspect, who is thought to be former tax official Olga Stepanova.  The head of JPMorgan in Russia, Jeffrey Costello, says that Medvedev’s plan to transform Moscow into an international finance hub is ‘evolutionary, not revolutionary‘, and will not happen overnight.  Konstantin Sonin says that the final result of Medvedev’s plan ‘is not as important as the steps involved in the process‘.  According to a prominent Russian doctor who spoke at a conference attended by Vladimir Putin, the medical system is rife with corruption, a shortage of workers, and too many bureaucratic requirements.  Alexander Shokhin, president of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, blames ‘procedural violations and selective use of law‘ in the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky for investors’ current negative view of the Russian legal system.  On a few of the problems facing the Glonass navigation system: ‘Drivers […] have been resistant to its introduction because they could be fined for traffic violations caught by the system‘.  In keeping with its desire to promote the system as a viable alternative to GPS, and in an attempt ‘to demonstrate technological independence‘, Russia has launched a smartphone that can pick up both systems.  This article offers some positive case studies on Russian microfinance.  Sitronics has been awarded a government tender to develop a traffic management system in Moscow.  Amid increasing demand, Russian companies are placing more Eurobonds and at better rates now than they were even in comparison to last year, when the market was ‘almost completely shut down during the crisis‘.