Today in Russian Business – Oct 13, 2010

Following an agreement by all the parties involved including the Finance Ministry, the Central Bank will be permitted to sell its stake in Sberbank.  Sberbank’s preference is that the privatization be done through a bourse rather than directly to a strategic investor, saying that a market sale would boost the banking sector.  Details of further companies that are up for privatization will be approved ‘in the coming weeks,‘ says Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.  President Medvedev is trying to appease those opposed to the construction of Gazprom’s St Petersburg skyscraper, saying that the project does not yet have full official backing.  In an interview with RFE/RL, the authors of a new book on the legacy of the KGB say that the FSB are ‘more powerful than the civil institutions, because they can initiate criminal prosecutions against businesses and use [such criminal cases] to their own advantage, including for material gain.‘  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says that improvement of Russia’s investment climate is a ‘two-way street‘, and that the government will remove administrative obstacles to businesses if the business community ‘forms a favorable atmosphere for its activities.‘  The latest official word on the grain crop is that 13.3 million hectares – or a third of the expected harvest – has been lost.