Today in Russian Business – June 2, 2011

Moscow-based journalists are losing their jobs as publications shut down, ‘perks of media ownership‘ disappear, and readership and advertising drop.  Six protesters demonstrated in London yesterday outside VTB Group’s annual Russia Calling conference to draw attention to the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and to send a message to investors that it ‘isn’t safe‘ to invest in Russia, due to the persecution of businesspeople there.  Yevgenvy Chichvarkin was also involved in a London protest outside a ‘state-sponsored Russian investment forum‘, although the source does not name VTB.  Russia’s supply of 21 helicopters to the U.S. Department of Defense in Afghanistan could lead to other similar projects.  Russian Railways has signed a $2.98 billion deal with Siemens to buy electric rail cars, amid high demand for rolling stock.  The windfall expected from the government’s privatization plan could be balanced out by long-term revenue loss: ‘[o]nce the privatization revenues disappear like all the money before it did, how will the state replenish its coffers?‘  Russia has taken what officials themselves are calling the ‘extremely unpopular measure‘ of banning all raw vegetable imports from the EU in response to Germany’s E. coli outbreak.  Oleg Deripaska’s Kuban AgroHolding farming company is about to benefit from a surge in exports, after storing half of its harvest last year.  How has Renaissance head Stephen Jennings managed to ‘stay afloat‘ in Russia?  Partly because he applauds Vladimir Putin for bringing stability to Russia, perhaps.