Today in Russian Business – Feb 3, 2010

Russia’s budget deficit could reach 6.8% of GDP this year – worse than last year.  But Alexei Kudrin expects foreign direct investment to return to pre-crisis levels of $60-70 billion.  Perhaps a face-to-face meeting with Dmitry Medvedev will inspire the heads of big business to work on modernizing Russia’s economy.  The IMF says that more strenuous monitoring of Russian banks might help to renew confidence and credit flow.  Aeroflot is to absorb assets controlled by Russian Technologies, ending the efforts of the latter to merge its carriers with Atlant-Soyuz and create a new competitor.  An Italian firm whose new meat plant will produce up to 80,000 hamburger patties every hour for McDonald’s is planning to use domestically-produced beef, reportedly in line with Medvedev’s new food security doctrine.  Drug price caps could cause certain drugs to disappear from the shelves, producers say.  Is Russia on the brink of its first major arms purchase abroad – a French-navy built advanced helicopter carrier and command center? Critics hope not.