Today in Russian Business – May 15, 2009

Russia has revised plans for state guarantees for the debt of major firms, which would make accessing government funds easier, in order to encourage them to lend to the real economy.  The government has hired one of the country’s top investment bankers to informally advise state companies on mergers and acquisitions abroad.  President Medvedev awaits cabinet approval on a resolution allowing people who are setting up their own businesses to claim 60,000 rubles worth of unemployment benefits as they do so.  According to a recent survey, inflation and decreasing salaries have made savings accounts unpopular among Russians.  Egypt has stated that, contrary to yesterday’s reports, it seized but one shipment of Russian wheat which it fears may be inedible.  Russia’s budget deficit widened last month to its most since 1998, reaching the equivalent of 3.3% of GDP.  The Federation’s international reserves dropped by $0.7 billion to $385.2 billion last week.  Bloomberg reports that Wal-Mart may expand into Russia.