Today in Russian Business – October 12, 2009

President Medvedev has reportedly said that the damage caused by the financial crisis was far worse than expected and the economy may contract by 7.5% this year.  In an interview with state television, Medvedev designated priorities for economic modernization: ‘energy efficiency […] information products, both ground- and space-based; nuclear energy […] and pharmaceuticals as we must produce our own medicinal drugs’.  The President also said that Russia will need as long as 15 years to reduce its reliance on raw materials.  Avtovaz plans to start the production of Renault and Nissan vehicles in 2012, suggesting that the French automaker is attempting to comply with the Kremlin’s demands for financial commitment.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called for domestically produced medicines to represent at least 50% of total sales in Russia within three years, from the current 20%.  Media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky has announced a softened attitude towards the Russian government, eight years after fleeing the country.  The Guardian takes a look at Alexander Lebvedev.  The Telegraph has a link to a video by ‘wanted man‘ Bill Browder, Hermitage’s founder, on the perils of investing in Russia today.