Today in Russian Business – July 16, 2009

The economy has contracted less than predicted, by 10.1% in the first half of the year, but the OECD suggests there may be a storm of bad debt gathering.  The Economy Ministry is not over-optimistic regarding growth, suggesting that the country will not be able to match last year’s rate of growth until 2012.  The government is considering borrowing $20 billion a year overseas from 2010 to 2012.  Analysts have predicted that alcohol consumption will fall by 5% this year, with imported drinks faring the worst.  ‘This begins to look like deliberate procrastination‘, Vladimir Putin has told senators prevaricating over a bill that would introduce harsher penalties for violating anti-monopoly laws.   ‘GAZ and AvtoVaz, which received enormous federal funds to prop them up, are vivid examples of government inefficiency and incompetence – says a commentator in the Moscow Times.  Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov has called for increased bilateral business between Russia and Germany.  It is expected that Medvedev will push for a conclusion of Magna’s deal to buy Opel when he visits Munich this week.  The BBC‘s Tim Whewell reports on an agreable meeting with Oleg Deripaska.