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Today in Russian Business

250108corp.jpgRussia is in a strong position at the World Economic Forum, with optimism over it’s outlook prompting some investors to take a closer look at the country. “I think the emerging markets are going to be largely immune to the subprime crisis,” said the CEO of Pakistan’s largest private bank. The notion that Russia is the most insulated from the ill effects of a United States recession among the chief emerging-market economies offers “an extraordinary role for a country on its knees not so long ago.” The government hopes to save the sturgeon from extinction by setting up a state caviar monopoly and stiffening punishments for poachers. “In Iran, for example, they impose the death penalty for poaching sturgeon,” said the government’s chief fisheries official. “I am not calling for that, God forbid, but it shows how seriously the topic is treated.” Russian stocks climbed for the first time in eight days as the MICEX Index ended “its longest losing streak in three years.” The government has assigned Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to set up a special body to combat inflation, as it seeks tools other that the rouble appreciation to stop price rises.

Vladimir Nekrasov, owner of leading cosmetics retailer Arbat Prestige, has been arrested on suspicion of large-scale tax evasion, and Russia has detained Ukrainian businessman Semion Mogilevich who is wanted by the US on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and extortion. X5 Retail Group, Russia’s leading food retailer, said on Friday it has launched syndication of a $1.1 billion, three-year loan. Russia’s VTB bank says it is currently not planning to acquire any of its Western peers. Russia’s most popular Internet search resource, Yandex, has become one of the world’s Top 10 search engines.PHOTO: Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin addresses a conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday Jan. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)