Today in Russian Business – Jan 26, 2010

Bad loans can apparently be expected to rise to as much as 11% of Russia’s banking portfolio in the first 6 months of 2010.  Jason Bush laments how quietly the scandal of Sberbank’s losses through fraud (totaling $180 million) has been treated by the Russian media.  Russia has paid off its remaining Soviet-era commercial debt to foreign banks, by restructuring $31.7 billion of obligations to the London Club of creditors.  Vladimir Putin has pledged $3.3 billion in hi-tech investment by the national development bank VEB by the end of 2010 to fund innovation.  According to Reuters, Russia’s place in terms of scientific research and science-based industries such as nuclear power is seriously declining, falling behind China and India.  In an attempt to quell corruption, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service will apparently pick five electronic trading sites that will host all tenders for state contracts beginning this year.  All systems go for the Paris listing of Rusal.   We know that Vladimir Putin is supposedly proud to drive a Lada – but do we know what is lurking under the bonnet?