Today in Russian Business – June 24, 2009

Ikea has officially suspended all developments in Russia until ‘key issues’ have been dealt with.  Bloomberg reports that Russia intends to combine its seven regional phone companies and create a new national mobile-phone operator, through Svyazinvest merging the units and then trying to merge with one of the ‘big three’ telecoms operators.  Russia and Egypt have agreed on a long-term wheat deal to increase imports.  Reuters has a factbox on Russia’s struggle with bad loans.  Russia says it will not intervene in the arguments between Norway’s Telenor and Russia’s Alfa Group over their shares in telecoms group Vimpelcom, unless Alfa has acted illegally.  An op-ed piece in the Moscow Times argues that Russia may win the legal battle with Telenor, but the PR war is lost.  Alfa Bank has said that the shrinking in capital investment in Russia in the past ten years shows that the government’s stimulus package is ineffective.  It has been suggested that Putin’s anti-crisis package is unlikely to stimulate growth before 2012.  A  new Russian-Venezuelan bank will have charter capital of $4 billion with the controlling interest held by Russia.