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Today in Russian Business – March 7, 2011

The ban on grain exports in Russia has limited farm income and will result in a 2.3% drop in wheat planting this year, which will almost certainly contribute to a rise in global prices, says Bloomberg.  Russia is planning to create a $10 billion private equity fund in a bid to attract foreign investment.  Two initiatives are apparently being considered, with a separate committee also planned to advise the President on improving Moscow’s standing as an international financial hub.  President Dmitry Medvedev says that his move to combine Russia’s two main financial watchdogs will ‘improve financial regulation‘ and boost a ‘far-from-perfect financial market‘.  The automobile market is booming at the moment, but Russia has yet to produce its first hybrid car: ‘the government provides few incentives for drivers to shift to greener vehicles‘.  The direct sales model, as used by foreign companies such as America’s Amway, is successful in Russia, where its $3 billion market is ‘growing fast‘.  Anti-piracy startup Pirate Pay is the first company to benefit from seed funding through cooperation between Microsoft and the Skolkovo Foundation.  Lithuania has granted asylum to Yury Khardikov, the businessman accused of a $35 million fraud against Yelena Baturina.