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Today in Russian Business – Feb 23, 2011

As a result of the wave of political unrest spilling across North Africa and the Middle East, Russia may, apparently, lose up to $10 billion in arms sales.  According to the FT, VTB has acquired the Moscow city government’s 46.5% stake in Bank of Moscow, one step towards the breaking up of the financial empire previously held by Mayor Luzhkov and his wife Yelena Baturina.  RFE/RL looks at the scramble for the assets held by the former first couple of Moscow.  Baturina is setting her sights elsewhere it would seem from reports that she in talks to buy the biggest Baltic retail chain Maxima Group.  This article in the Wall Street Journal takes issue with Igor Sechin’s claims that investors can be wholeheartedly confident when venturing into Russia.  In an attempt to raise money for financing a pre-World Cup upgrading of major routes, Russian Railways plans to raise at least £1 billion with a sterling bond issue.  Brewers will be disappointed to hear that Russia has passed an early reading of a bill aimed at limiting sales of strong beer.  Lack of scale, expanding domestic banks; Bloomberg considers why foreign banks are being ‘driven out’ of Russia.  Royal Group, run by the brother of Abu Dhabi’s ruler, may reportedly invest several hundred million dollars in housing and agriculture projects in Chechnya.