Today in Russian Business – April 26, 2011

HSBC has announced its exit from Russia’s retail banking market, following a similar move by Barclays in February.  The exit comes ‘amid increasing assertiveness from VTB and Sberbank‘ – but one source suggests that the exit relates more to HSBC’s ‘own dynamics rather than the market dynamics‘.  Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin’s suggestion that the Central Bank should focus on taming inflation instead of weakening the rouble is at odds with Vladimir Putin’s orders to keep a ‘predictable […] national currency‘.  The central bank plans to continue raising minimum reserve requirements on bank liabilities and is ‘only at the beginning of the path‘, although Putin warned that Russia should not follow China’s example.  The Audit Chamber says it will sue former Bank of Moscow President Andrei Borodin for $1 billion. ‘He has earned $1 billion, so we will sue him for $1 billion.‘  Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry, wants to help Russia develop new technology: ‘A very important (question) for Russia is how do they balance the need for letting innovative things happen, but managing state security.‘  RUSAL’s debts may be well over the $10 billion mark, but the company says it ‘makes debt repayments ahead of schedule and actively uses new tools to raise capital‘.  Medvedev wants government ministers to leave company boards, so long as they are not replaced by ‘clerks from ministries‘.  His board-shuffling orders will affect as many as 1,000 companies.