Today in Russian Business – March 17, 2011

Whilst the Nikkei index plummets in the wake of Japan’s post-earthquake nuclear crisis, Russia has announced it does not intend to reduce investment in the country’s state debt.  Ria-Novosti examines some of the concerns apparently lingering over France’s plans to sell advanced Mistral warships to Russia, with Russia’s Defense Minister remaining ‘cagey’ on the issue.  High oil prices could see Russia eliminate its budget deficit in 2011, earlier than planned, says the Wall Street Journal.  Will a Kremlin-requested new bill on the tender system ‘legalize corruption’?  Proving that there are two sides to every rouble, Bloomberg offers up contrasting analyzes of the riskiness of investing in Russia from two top equity fund managers.  First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has apparently acknowledged that Russia’s political system has ‘some weaknesses’ that prevent the economy developing fully.  Could it be something to do with ‘the bazaar mentality’ which commentator Yevgeny Bazhanov describes in the Moscow Times?  Coal miner Mechel is apparently considering acquiring shares in Raspadskaya as demand for the commodity redoubles.  Yuri Milner talks exit strategies