Today in Russian Business

It is being reported that France has unfrozen one of the Russian Central Bank‘s accounts in French commercial banks, frozen as part of a lawsuit by Swiss trading firm Noga. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin says that Russia, “a sufficiently stable region for investment”, and other countries with large gold and currency reserves could help the world economy weather the current crisis. He says that Russia would come to be seen as “an island of stability.” The CEO of Merrill Lynch has warned that Russia is not immune to the crisis. “Even though we do see great growth in Russia and India, China and Brazil, I think that none of those markets are immune to a global slowdown,” he said. The organizers of the 11th Russian Economic Forum are rebranding the London-based event in an apparent attempt to rekindle interest in the annual gathering after many of last year’s participants pulled out at the last minute. Vimpelcom, Russia’s second-largest cell phone operator, is concerned that significant deterioration in the markets could threaten a $4.3 billion planned acquisition of fixed-line compatriot Golden Telecom. Peter Hambro Mining, the second-largest producer of gold in Russia, said it will achieve annual production of 1 million ounces a year later than previously planned.