Today in Russian Business – August 10, 2009

President Medvedev has ordered an investigation into the financial activities of state corporations such as VEB and Russian Technologies.  The move has been seen as an attempt to reconsider whether the Putin-sponsored powerhouses are really effective.  Out of the CIS nations, Russia is apparently one of the most poorly performing states in economic terms.  Russia’s jobless figure has decreased by 6,000 to 2,140,000.  State defense purchases will grow 1.2% in 2010.  The Central Bank has announced a fifth interest rate cut in four months to propel the economy forward.  The IMF, which predicts that Russia’s economy will shrink by 6.5% this year, is recommending that the state slash by half its fiscal stimulus and focus instead upon a road map and ‘mandatory, bottom-up stress tests of larger banks’.  A recent poll has indicated that young Russians are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, but when presented with the real world do not follow through their ideas.  Apparently Magna’s bid to buy Opel unit may fail because Sberbank is financing the deal.  As talks continue, ‘progress was made, but there was no final breakthrough’, said an Opel labor leader.