Today in Russian Business – June 5, 2009

Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina has said that Russia could enter the World Trade Organization by the end of the year, with support from the EU Trade Commissioner.  The Kremlin is hoping for cooperation with the Obama administration to secure its entry.  Could Sberbank be planning to sell its Opel stake?  The bank and Magna will extend a €500 million loan to the newly acquired car manufacturer.  Wal-Mart apparently has ambitious plans for the Russian retail market.  Victor Vekselberg has said the U.S. and European government’s acquisitions of shares in large banks are politicizing the financial markets.  President Medvedev has warned against over-optimistic financial forecasts and argues that what is more important is ‘how we will go out of the crisis’.  He will give a talk at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum under the rubric ‘first lessons and outlook for future’.  To implement even half of Russia’s anti-crisis program ‘would require dismantling Russia’s political system’, says the Economist.  Russia may consider ruble-yuan swaps as Medvedev favors moving away from the dollar as reserve currency.  Arab states and Russia are hoping to reinforce strong trading ties, which currently total $8 billion a year.