Today in Russian Business – Feb 5, 2010

The Kremlin has adopted a softer line on independent union activity as unemployment continues to rise and the government needs a strong intermediary to contain it, says Boris Kagarlitsky, although his comments were not corroborated by Kremlin sources.  Smaller retailers are not happy with new trade laws, active as of this month, which cap store profit margins, limit certain prices, and shorten the period of payment for delivered goods; critics suggest that the laws will favor bigger foreign retailers. ‘Modernization’ and ‘innovation’ were the buzzwords of yesterday’s Troika Dialog conference.  And Igor Shuvalov is talking about privatization, which the Kremlin intends to focus on and expand this year in a bid to raise $2.4 billion.