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Today in Russian Business – March 24, 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has unveiled new plans to support small business owners, more than doubling current federal budget spending on the sector.  Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg has been appointed chairman of a new coordination council responsible for creating ‘the Kremlin’s answer to Silicon Valley‘, the Skolkovo innovation center.  The three-year-old Investigative Committee, which initially was not to required extra federal budget expenses, has allotted $81 million for its new headquarters, as part of building plans whose costs have doubled this year.  Daimler will pay $185 million to settle allegations that it paid bribes in 22 countries, including Russia, to win business.  United Aircraft is denying reports that it plans to set up a joint venture with the US Air Force, says the Washington Post, but according to Reuters, Russia’s state-run aviation company would consider participating if it was specifically asked to.