Today in Russian Business – April 23, 2009

The IMF has predicted that Russia’s economy will contract by up to 6% this year, but will grow by 0.5% in 2010.  Putin has drawn up new proposals for recapitalizing the banking sector and has said that a gradual slowing of inflation will allow the central bank to slash its refinancing rate.  The Prime Minister will also introduce measures to simplify taxes for small businesses and remove the requirement for them to have cash registers.  Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has said that the Reserve Fund will be practically exhausted’ by 2010.  The Central Bank will increase bank lending by 10-12% this year.  Russia may cut its poultry quota by 2010 as domestic output increases.  Igor Zyuzin’s steel and coal producer Mechel will buy up West Virginian assets from Bluestone Coal for $436 million in cash.  Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov has been ousted from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs for failing to pay his membership fees, the first time this has happened.  Alexander Lededev has given his 49% stake in German airline Blue Wings to Aeroflot.  Mobile phone provider MegaFon saw profits increase 37% in the first quarter.