Today in Russian Business – May 5, 2009

Putin has revisited the proposal of a new unified property tax, which would reduce the price of costly real estate and bolster local government budgets during the crisis.  The ruble has risen to a three-month high against the dollar as oil reached over $50 a barrel.  The budget deficit has swallowed up some of Russia’s oil wealth funds, which lost $13 billion in value in April.  Car manufacturer GAZ will take part in a joint bid for GM’s European plants with Ontario-based car parts giant Magna.  General Motors has come to an agreement with four Russian banks to offer consumer loans for its cars at lower interest rates.  Russian Railways, Russia’s biggest employer, will seek an extra $910 million in state aid as this year’s losses could reach twice the amount predicted.  Vladimir Potanin has filed a lawsuit against ex-business partner Mikhail Prokhorov for $29 million over a property dispute.  Reuters has a factbox on Russia’s economy and an investor radar on Russia.  Telenor has announced a 65% drop in first quarter profit on losses linked to its stake in Vimpelcom.