Today in Russian Business – March 11, 2010

Of all the countries in Europe, Russia has the largest number of billionaires, says Forbes.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is in India today to ‘fend off competition from the US and Europe‘ in securing arms and nuclear energy deals.  14 agreements are due to be signed, with a total value of over $10 billion.  The Kremlin is to increase its funding of a program that provides assistance to those starting their own business, offering bonus subsidies for every new job created.  If passed, a new Duma bill would require Vneshekonombank and the Deposit Insurance Agency to transfer 75% of their profits into the federal budget – a bid to curb the growing deficit.  Moscow is a cheaper place to live this year thanks to the ruble falling against the dollar.  Read Forbes on steel magnate and web investor Alisher Usmanov.  President Dmitry Medvedev is soon to reveal the location of a new Center for Research and Development – ‘the Russian Silicon Valley‘.  The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has reversed a decision to fine IKEA for violating competition law.  Foreign car dealer Rolf has secured a $340 million loan from Sberbank for debt refinancing.  What will it take to modernize Russia’s single-industry towns?  Oh, about $33.8 billion.