Today in Russian Business – Oct 7, 2010

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin’s 2010 economic growth forecast of 4% may not be as healthy as it sounds.  Bloomberg says that ‘economic expansion of around 3% constitutes stagnation and is comparable to the U.S. economy contracting 1%‘, and that Russia is facing a ‘significant slowdown‘.  Cyprus is ‘the largest tax haven for Russian business‘ and its prosperity is largely dependent on Russian money, says this article; perhaps explaining why President Dmitry Medvedev’s upcoming visit to the country is so eagerly awaited.  Medvedev’s Algeria visit did not win any pledges on VimpelCom. RusAl’s plan to re-elect the entire board of Norilsk Nickel is not likely to receive minority shareholder support, says the Moscow Times.  IKEA has announced that it will not open any new stores in Russia for the next three to five years (which also means abandoning its plans to build a mega shopping mall near Moscow), but instead will focus on expanding its existing stores.  The Skolkovo research center is about to receive a group of venture capitalists from Silicon Valley, but according to this Forbes blogger, ‘Before you can implement wizzy state-of-the-art technologies at Skolkovo and hope to attract more foreign investors to a revitalized financial capital, you have to have a functional infrastructure that is not deformed by corruption.‘  India’s deal to buy fighter jets from Russia could be worth up to $30 billion.  Reuters reports on why private banks are hesitating to move into Russia.