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Today in Russian Business – April 4, 2011

President Dmitry Medvedev has set July 1 as the date when government ministers will start being removed from state company boards, a move praised as ‘revolutionary‘ by Alexei Navalny.  ‘This risks triggering a war between the elites,‘ says one analyst. ‘It will mean a real conflict with Putin.‘  Russian stocks are at a 33-month high.  If Russia joins the World Trade Organization, the U.S. would have to lift its Jackon-Vanik law and grant Russia permanent normal trade relations – ‘no easy sell‘. Medvedev called for more competition from Russia’s aviation industry, telling firms to stop ‘begging for money‘, as he set out a plan to give the industry a cash injection of $176 billion.  The head of the Security Council says that Russia would need 1,300 new aircraft by 2020 in order to regenerate its civil aviation industry.  Meanwhile the Rosaviatsia transport agency building was the site of picketing, after a union leader was sacked.  Steam coal miner SUEK is seeking a London listing that could value its worth at $5 billion; retail chain Magnit is considering a $500 million share placement.  High-rise developer Etalon is hoping to raise $650 million on the LSE.  Alexander Voloshin, who lost his seat on Norilsk Nickel’s board last year, has been elected company chairman, with the backing of Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal which holds a 25% share in the company.  This MoneyTalk podcast discusses investment opportunities on the Russian market other than oil and commodities.  Vladimir Putin has been driving around in the prototype of Russia’s first hybird car, the Yo-Mobile.