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Today in Russian Business – March 26, 2011

The New York Times has a special report on Aleksei Navalny and his whistleblowing website for investors which exposes corrupt practices, comparing his Russian celebrity to that of Julian Assange.  It’s now common for wealthy businessmen accused of corruption to compare themselves to Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Sergei Magnitsky ‘to avoid being charged,‘ says a member of Dmitry Medvedev’s Human Rights Council, honing in on former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Duma Deputy Ashot Yegiazaryan.  The weather is playing havoc with next year’s grain harvest, with persistent snows delaying sowing by up to a month.  New legislation proposed by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service would lessen bureaucratic hurdles for foreign investors buying into natural resources by removing the need for anti-trust approval.  Sberbank has been ranked Russia’s most expensive brand.  Arms export levels are at a record high at $10 billion a year, and are expected to stay that way until at least 2014.