Today in Russian Business – Feb 19th, 2009

More than a quarter of Russia’s revised federal budget will be spent on anti-crisis measures – roughly 1.9 trillion roubles ($53.33 billion).  Another record slump in retail demand corresponds with another record rate of unemployment, thought to be currently affecting around 6.1 million people.  But the financial crisis may reduce inequality in Russia’s regions, says Forbes.  No worries for Carlsberg in Russia, where it has outperformed the market.  Reports from earlier this week that Russia is planning to increase its gold holdings has helped boost the price of the commodity, although one analyst said that the central bank ‘would proceed with a “slow and steady accumulation”, probably buying from domestic producers’. Avtovaz is working on a new budget car, which would be the cheapest on the Russian market, and is intended to raise standards on fuel and safety.  Vneshekonombank has built an agriculture portfolio of 60 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) this year, as announced by Vladimir Putin who sits on its board.  ‘A pressing need in Russia is the creation of a set of institutions that invest medium term money into small and medium-size enterprises.’  Mikhail Prokhorov has abandoned plans to purchase the most expensive home in the world.