Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin acknowledges the current trend of higher taxes, but says that there is nothing temporary about the rises, and pointed to similar hikes in other countries, forecasts that taxes will rise by 2% of GDP from next year; Kudrin also suggested that the government ban ‘all kinds of tax breaks‘. The FT praises the recent IPO of Mail.ru for its reflection of Dmitry Medvedev’s favorite buzzwords of ‘innovation‘ and ‘modernization‘, and the implication of a move away from privatized Soviet assets. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has outlined government plans to create a special economic zone in the Urals Federal district – a ‘Titanium Valley‘ – to supply the aircraft, automotive, shipbuilding and medical industries. On the various professional predictions of former Moscow-based trader William Browder and his ‘dark feelings‘ about Russia. State-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation is seeking arms exporter status, to the chagrin of Rosboronexport, which says that USC’s plans ‘may damage Russia’s national interests‘, and which would almost certainly damage its own. Russia’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, at $4.5 billion, is the most expensive. A dollar advance dented Russia’s international reserves last week by $3.5 billion.