Today in Russian Business

Rising Russian prices caused by the oil boom is causing havoc for Russian firms. The head of Polyus Gold comments, “There’s no infrastructure, no power, no roads. Electricity costs twice what they pay in Alaska and Canada. We face a Soviet bureaucracy passing decrees that make you weep.” Inmarko, the leading ice cream company in central and eastern Russia with a turnover of approximately €115m in 2007, has been acquired by Unilever for an undisclosed sum. One paper suggests that money from Russia’s newly-created sovereign wealth funds could be diverted to help local banks survive the global credit crunch. Russia’s sovereign fund is examining the possibility of investing in Japanese stocks. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin says there will be no major price hikes in Russia when some food prices are “unfrozen”. Carmaker AvtoVAZ may partner with Renault to assemble new car models in Russia, scrapping an agreement with Canadian auto parts maker Magna. For the first time in ten years, the Central Bank of Russia is raising the refinancing rate. “Investment backed by states such as China and Russia has entered an aggressive new phase.” Entertainment television company CTC Media has signed a deal to buy a 20% stake in Channel 31, Kazakhstan’s fourth-largest television network.