Today in Russian Business – Sept 3, 2010

President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered regional leaders and the government to prevent speculators from driving up the cost of basic foodstuffs.  (Presumably nothing came of the almost identical order he made on August 13.)  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – apparently without notifying the Agriculture Ministry – has extended the grain export ban in a bid to ensure that domestic demands are met after noting that ‘grain is being held in anticipation of the next steps‘.  The New York Times says the extended ban relates to ‘continued uncertainty over production‘.  In the first US purchase of the Russian Superjet, Willis Lease Finance Corporation has committed to buy six of the new Sukhoi passenger aircraft (at $29 million each), clearly not ruffled by a recent report that 70 of the engineers at one of the company’s factories were found to have ‘fake degrees‘, nor by allegations that Sukhoi let them keeps their jobs.  Michael Bohm writes at length on the phenomenon of bought degrees in the Moscow Times.  The government of Southern Sudan is apparently to receive 10 military transport helicopters from Russia ‘for transport purposes‘, but the SPLA refused to comment.  German carmaker Volkswagen aims to boost production in Russia with a new assembly line at GAZ.  Evraz points out that steel demand ‘has room to grow‘, as it is still at least 15% shy of its pre-crisis levels.  Reuters says that China is nervous about, but powerless to stop, potential consolidation in Russia’s potash sector and BHP Billiton’s takeover bid for Potash Corp.