Today in Russian Business – Jan 22nd, 2009

President Dmitry Medvedev is reportedly meeting some resistance in trying to push regional governments to create more jobs.  Wage arrears have declined by almost 40% thanks to a surge in budget spending which helped companies pay their staff.  Alexander Lebedev, the spy who came in for the gold, has successfully purchased a 75.1% stake in the Evening Standard newspaper.  Will this week’s ruble gains hold?  Probably not, with international reserves down $30 billion in just one week.  The Russian retail sector, struggling harder than ever in the face of a recession, may yet attract global investors due to its ‘potential’.  Russian bank VTB reported net loss attributable to shareholders of $369 million in the third quarter, and needs to raise first-tier capital.  Russian companies are facing repayments of over $100 billion this year on foreign debt borrowed during the global oil boom, but analysts say that the most difficult wave of debt repayments are over.  The financial crisis is reportedly leading many Russians to seek psychiatric advice