Today in Russian Business – March 26, 2009

Vladimir Putin’s unemployment figures are significantly lower than those of the Federal Statistics Service.  Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov says that the government will step in to prevent Oleg Deripaska’s GAZ from falling into bankruptcy, pointing out that it employs almost half the residents of Nizhny Novgorod.  Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin says the the Finance Ministry will sell over $15 billion of treasury bonds this year and issue 50-100% more bonds in 2011 and 2012 in its attempts to finance its growing budget deficit.  Kudrin also estimated that non-performing or ‘bad’ loans to the real economy sector could hit 10%, and has urged banks to distribute anti-crisis funds in the sector to ease the effects of this.  The chairman of the Independent Unions Federation has urged Vladimir Putin to raise wages across the economy to deal with increasing prices.  The Moscow Times has some advice for the Russian Venture Company on how to speed up Russia’s integration into the global supply chain.  ‘Until recently, Russia’s authorities had managed to cope with the public’s demands. But now, almost all of the populist promises Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made last autumn — to help businesses across the board and to prevent a devaluation of the ruble — have been rescinded in one form or another.’  Is the worst over for Russia?