The cost of an average Russian bribe more than doubled last year, and is currently somewhere around $780. State pressure is reportedly weeding out transfer-pricing schemes under which companies – particularly in the coal sector – have been dodging taxes. Alexander Lebedev (profiled here) has taken on British newspaper The Independent. The Moscow Times reports that he was paid £9.25 million ($14 million) by Independent News & Media to head operations. Lebedev says he supports the Independent for its contribution to ‘democracy and transparency‘. The Kremlin wants to hang on to at least 75% of shipping company Sovkomflot. The central bank has cut interest rates for the 12th time in less than a year. Will a new relaxation of immigration rules draw foreign specialists into Russia?