Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that ‘the growth of protectionism poses a problem in the economic relations with the EU’, and showed that trade with EU countries dropped 50% between February 2008 and February 2009. President Medvedev apparently hopes to leave room for the ‘tax manoeuvre‘ in the 2010 budget, and has approved a law introducing changes to the budget of the Russian Pension Fund for 2009 in accordance with changes in predictions for the economic climate in 2009. The World Bank has agreed on a payout of $2.12 billion to construct a road in Kazakhstan, designed to improve trade links between China and Russia and western Europe. MTV is planning to increase the number of services and channels offered in Russia, in development with Vladimir Potanin’s Prof-Media. Winter grain in Russia is in a ‘good and satisfactory condition‘, according to a weather center, despite predictions of a lower harvest. Emerging market stocks are set to reach their highest level in 20 years as the downturn causes investors to move away from higher-yielding assets. Russia’s international reserves have fallen $4.2 billion as banks struggle to repay loans.