Today in Russian Business – Feb 18th, 2009

Nothing you won’t have heard before, but a thermometer of the broad media stance on Russia’s economic climate can be found in this summary by the BBC.  Russia’s rich are curbing their spending on art, forcing the Art Moscow contemporary art fair to be postponed until September, in order for it to coincide with the Venice Biennale.  Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev has announced that state-controlled banks will provide farmers with 120 billion rubles ($3.45 billion) in short-term loans for spring sowing in an attempt to stave off the usual raft of defaults.  The Kremlin has published the first hundred names of its Golden 1,000 list of managers from which Medvedev will fill a series of senior government positions.  The government has managed to cut spending on venues for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi by 15% on cheaper construction costs.  Sberbank says it does not currently need any additional financing.  Oleg Deripaska says he has no plans to sell his 25% stake in Austrian builder Strabag.