Today in Russian Business – Feb 27th, 2009

The head of Russia’s Federal Consumer Protection Service, Gennady Onishchenko, has recommendations for an anti-crisis diet: lots of potatoes and cabbage, just like the days of wartime rationing. “The aim is so that people don’t panic and know that in any situation there is a way out, including in nutrition,” said a spokesperson. Speaking of supplements, Russia is considering buying metals to help struggling domestic producers, while the Federal Service for Financial Markets is pondering the idea of creating a “bad bank” to bail out defaulted bonds.  “The basic idea is to clean up the balances of management companies from bad — but not the worst — bonds and try with the help of state-controlled banks to restructure this debt step by step,” said the watchdog’s head, Vladimir Milovidov. Belarus is considering selling up to 20 percent of its second-largest bank to Russia’s Rosselkhozbank. And dark days are upon Russian automaker AvtoVAZ, since morale-raising anti-crisis parties at the companies Tolyatti plant can’t hide the swelling ranks of unemployed. Meanwhile, Russian sugar exports may fall 35 percent this year, while natives in Russia’s far east are trying to solve the mystery of disappearing fish. On a brighter note, McDonalds has announced plans to invest $120 million in 40 new Russian stores.