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Today in Russian Business – July 17, 2009

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov believes that Russia could join the WTO by next year if it receives the backing the US has publicly offered.  Following their talks on bilateral trade, Russia and Germany look set to sign a credit agreement worth €500 million to finance joint projects. Angela Merkel has expressed support for Magna’s Opel bid saying, ‘the Magna concept offers excellent starting points.  A new government provision that would prevent retail chains with yearly sales exceeding $31 million from buying or leasing any new shops has been heavily criticized by retailers.  Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works says they are beginning to see some signs of recovery on the market.  Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko says that the recent closure of Cherkizovsky Market is one step forward in a battle against ‘shadow’ products that are severely affecting Russia’s troubled light industry sector.  The New York Times reports on the shady circumstances surrounding the closure of eastern Europe’s biggest market.  Lack of infrastructure, an ‘inept state‘ and ‘unfathomable levels of corruption’ are preventing Russia from modernizing argues an article on the Other Russia.