Today in Russian Business – March 30, 2009

President Dmitry Medvedev called for a widening of the reserve currency basket and repeated Russia’s interest in a new global reserve currency during his BBC interview this weekend.  He also said that indebted tycoons – not foreign financial institutions – are responsible for their own debts.  Vladimir Putin told AvtoVAZ it could expect over 20 billion rubles in state funds.  Russia’s chief economic adviser says a partial return to the gold standard would help stabilize the world’s currencies.  Could the Central Bank be considering a cut in ‘crippling’ interest rates?  Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev says that the worst of the financial crisis is over, but the World Bank predicts that Russia’s economy will contract by 4.5% in 2009.  IKEA is questioning its future Russia investments ‘due to the unpredictability of the administrative processes in some regions’, which has stalled store openings.  Grain processor PAVA is in talks with potential foreign investors to fund plans to triple the amount of farmland under its control by restoring Siberian fields.  Oil and real estate development tycoon Shalva Chigirinsky has given up his main businesses and left Russia for the US.