Today in Russian Business – March 3, 2011

McDonald’s uses a franchise model worldwide, but ‘do[es]n’t have the motivation to franchise‘ in Russia.  The company alluded to ‘judicial risks‘; franchising ‘requires a healthy small business environment,‘ suggests the Moscow Times.  Nonetheless, McDonald’s is planning to boost investment and expand its Russian business this year.  RusAl has admitted that its aluminium plant in southern Ukraine is the source of red chemical dust settling over two villages in Nikolayev.  The company has lost its UK battle to attain documents pertaining to its fight for control of Norilsk Nickel.  Severstal has posted a $352 million quarterly loss.  For almost the same price, a Russian investor has bought the Black Sea coast holiday complex previously linked to Vladimir Putin. ‘I don’t know if Russia is the best opportunity among the emerging markets … but what I am sure about is that it is the most misunderstood emerging market and it is also the most underrated,‘ says one satisfied investor.  Vladimir Putin has pledged his support to Russian farmers, promising new measures including a possible tractor scrappage scheme.  Ikea is having trouble with its facilities in Samara and Ufa: the National Anti-Corruption Committee says this is because it refuses to pay bribes to safety inspectors?  The services sector is exhibiting ‘a continued failure to build growth momentum in 2011,‘ says HSBC.  A group of Russian economists have revised the Kremlin’s Strategy 2020 development plan to argue for economic measures including ‘true competition‘, but insist that economic reforms are useless without accompanying political changes.