Today in Russian Business – May 7, 2009

The World Bank is prepared to lend Russia ‘several billions of dollars’ over the next two years to aid social programs.  VTB Capital has announced that Russia’s economy contracted at a slower pace last month, at a rate of 4.7%, compared with a shrinkage of 5.4% in March.  Is government intervention in economic matters a hindrance rather than a help? asks the Moscow Times.  Russia’s exports decreased by 48% in January-March in comparison with 2008’s figures.  President Medvedev has spoken out against Russia’s tendency to promote development of nanotechnology through large state firms such as Rusnano alone.  The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has drawn up amendments to allow banks outside of the top 100 to engage in mergers and acquisitions of competitor banks, without the sanction of a watchdog.  Billionaire Alexander Lebedev has told journalists that after his Blue Wings airline had its license revoked, he suspended the salaries for staff at his Novaya Gazeta newspaper for two months. The fishing industry has announced the largest increase in sales volume of all Russian industries in January-February 2009.