Today in Russian Business

Power to allow foreign investors to buy Russian companies will no longer belong to the Federal Security Service, but will be transferred to the prime minister, with the amendment to be approved by President Vladimir Putin – the next prime minister. A new report from international communications firm PBN says that Russian companies are expected to raise close to $30 billion this year in initial public offerings, despite the global financial crunch. The report, titled IPO Pioneers 3, also revealed that, in 2007, Russian companies raised more money in IPOs than companies from any other European country. VTB Bank has opened its first Shanghai branch. Russia’s middle class families – those with annual incomes of $125,000 to $250,000 – manifested record growth of 164% last year, according to new data from Rosgosstrakh. Metalloinvest, controlled by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, has agreed to sponsor Dynamo, the Moscow football club. A new generation nuclear-powered icebreaker is to be built in Russia by 2015, to operate on the North Sea Route.