Today in Russian Business – Dec 20, 2010

According to Reuters, Swiss drug manufacturer Novartis plans to invest $500 million in Russia over the next five years, through, amongst other endeavors, building a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg.  Rusal’s co-owner Mikhail Prokhorov has said that the aluminum giant will eventually sell a blocking stake in Norilsk Nickel for $12 – $15 billion, despite contrary indications by Oleg Deripaska.  Indian companies are reportedly readying to take part in Russia’s privatization program; President Medvedev will visit the country this week, where he is apparently likely to attempt to strike a deal on Russian fighter planes.  Italian carrier Alitalia has reportedly given up waiting for Sukhoi’s superjet.  The New York Times looks at Evgeny Lebedev’s influence on London’s Evening Standard.  Potash giant Uralkali has apparently agreed to acquire domestic rival Silvinit for cash and shares, thus creating the world’s largest maker of the crop nutrient.  The Wall Street Journal’s Liam Denning wonders if investors do really care about the Khodorkovsky verdict.  One farm’s grisly appeal for state aid.