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Today in Russian Business – March 15, 2011

A shrinking budget deficit means that the need for privatization has eased somewhat, but if Russia delays the sale of its 7.6% Sberbank stake, it would be to do with the ‘mood of international investors‘, says the Finance Ministry. Or, as one analyst put it, ‘Why sell this year when you can realize a higher price the next?‘  Russia needs foreign direct investment, says Alexei Kudrin, but its market is currently facing ‘unprecedented uncertainty‘ in this area and it would benefit more from boosting other sectors, suggests RIA Novosti.  Local officials would do well to allow IKEA to build its outlets in Samara and Ufa if it wants Russia’s growth rate ‘to match the economic growth rates of other BRIC nations‘, says the Moscow Times.  Russia and the U.S. between them accounted for half of the world’s total arms sales from 2006-2010, new research indicates.  Raven Russia’s $41.5 million profit last year indicates that the real estate sector is starting to recover, says Reuters.  President Dmitry Medvedev wants tougher penalties for those who organize illegal casinos. Metalloinvest has announced plans to increase its stake in Norilsk Nickel ‘to make its structure more balanced‘ amid a spat with RusAl, which is in the process of trying to have a new board of directors elected for the nickel company.  A specialist at Master-Bank has been charged and could face seven years in prison for participating in a money laundering ring with a daily turnover of $17 million.