Russia 100204

Basic Political Developments

·  RIA: Poland hails Russian plans to commemorate WWII Katyn massacre

·  Warsaw Business Journal: Putin to be first Russian leader to honor Katyń dead

·  Dow Jones: Argentina, Russia Looking To Cooperate On Nuclear Technology - The MOU was signed by Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido and Nikolay Spasskiy, deputy director general for international cooperation at Russia's state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, the Planning Ministry said.

·  RIA: Situation in Afghanistan creates risks for neighbors - CSTO head - "We don't predict any military conflict in CSTO member-states any time soon," Nikolai Bordyuzha said in an interview with a Tajik newspaper. "However, the situation in Afghanistan, which borders on CSTO members Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is, I repeat, very strained and dangerous," he said.

·  RIA: Russia, U.S. to discuss anti-drug efforts at Moscow meeting

·  Russia Today: America’s “honest disagreement” with Russia over Afghan drugs

· US disagrees with Russia on Afghan drugs - “We had an honest disagreement about poppy eradication,” Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a news conference. “The Russian government thinks that poppy eradication is the key; we think it was creating opportunities for the Taliban to recruit farmers,” he said.

· Russian MFA Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko Interview to RIA Novosti on the Upcoming Visit to the FRG by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov - Naturally, the focus of reciprocal attention will be WMD nonproliferation, including a political and diplomatic settlement to the Iran nuclear problem; advancing the Middle East peace process; assistance to stabilization and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and improvement of the situation in other hot spots and areas with high crisis potential.

·  PTI: BRIC's 2nd summit to be held in Brasilia in April

·  CNBC: Inside the BRIC's Enigmatic 'R' - The Russian economy, which had been worth $1.7 trillion in 2008, slipped to $1.2 trillion as a result of the crisis. Despite criticisms of the lack of diversity in the economy, early economic statistics for 2010 look encouraging, with GDP seen bouncing back with 3 percent-plus growth this year.

·  People’s Daily: Chubais: Russia hopes for high-tech co-op with China

·  Haaretz: Moscow cancels Jewish Agency meet over presence of Putin adversary

·  EU-Russiacentre: EU-Russian relations in January 2010 - A few important issues dominated the EU-Russian relations agenda in January 2010: the Ukrainian elections and future gas transit, the beginning of the Spanish EU presidency, some progress in Russia’s support for the “South Stream” gas project and issues surrounding with European security.

·  The Moscow Times: RZD to Move Estonian Oil by Year-End, Yakunin Says

·  RBC: Russian Railways secures RUB 50bn in subsidies

·  DefenseNews: Norway: Costs To Cool Russian Air Force Activities

·  Eurasianet: Georgia: Russian Nationalist Group Wants Georgian Foreign Minister Prosecuted

·  Politicom.moldova: Moldovan NGO: Ukraine-Russia spy scandal bad sign for Transnistria

· Medvedev may attend Vancouver Winter Olympics

·  The Globe and Mail: Good night, Vancouver; good morning, Moscow - Every evening, oldies station CISL-650 will become Autoradio, a Russian-language station with simultaneous broadcasts in Vancouver and more than 300 cities in Russia.

·  People’s Daily: Rogge: No worry on preparations of 2014 Sochi Olympics

·  Itar-Tass: Putin, Sidorsky discuss cooperation in energy, construction, chemical industries

·  RIA: Kazakh parliament ratifies deal on post-Soviet rapid reaction force

·  Itar-Tass: Sergei Darkin enters third term of governorship Thurs

·  The Moscow Times: Putin Friend in Football Job

·  Russia Today: New Russian football boss says Hiddink will stay until contract expires

·  RIA: Russia plans massive Victory Day display of military might

· CIS to take Victory lessons by May 9

·  Itar-Tass: Tatarstan’s parliament to consider candidate for presidency - Parliament of the Republic of Tatarstan on Thursday will consider candidacy of Rustam Minnikhanov to the presidential seat in the republic. Minnikhanov’s candidacy to this post was nominated by President Dmitry Medvedev on January 27.

·  Kremlin: Dmitry Medvedev had a meeting with Governor of Chelyabinsk Region Pyotr Sumin to discuss the region's social and economic situation.

·  Kremlin: Opening Remarks at Meeting on Reforming the Interior Ministry

·  Reuters: Russia says killed top local al Qaeda militant

·  Interfax: Police detain Karachayevo-Cherkessia Muslim leader murder suspect in Moscow

·  RIA: Six killed in bus-truck collision in S.Russia - Six people were killed when a bus crashed into truck in Russia's North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan early on Thursday, regional emergencies officials said.

·  Itar-Tass: Six killed in Dagestan road accident, nine hospitalized

·  Itar-Tass: Medvedev hopes to reduce “exorbitantly high” corruption in N Caucasus

·  Itar-Tass: Govt to consider creation of commission for IT in govt agencies

·  Russia Today: Russia to protect children from Internet risks - “The law should be improved,” said Vladimir Ovchinsky, Constitutional Court advisor. “Russia has not yet ratified two fundamental conventions of the Council of Europe, coordinating the fight against human trafficking, including child pornography. I have no idea why our country has not joined these conventions.”

·  Itar-Tass: Mandatory health insurance reform to improve quality of medical services

·  Itar-Tass: Russian doctors call for raising awareness of cancer prevention

· Experts map route to disarmament - A group of leading arms-control experts will set out a route today by which the big nuclear powers could agree to abolish all atomic weapons by 2030. At a Paris conference, a group calling itself the Global Zero Commission - comprising several Russian and US arms-control policy-makers of recent decades - will outline a four-stage plan.

·  The Local: Russian nuclear waste dumped off Sweden - The Russian military is suspected of having dumped chemical weapons and radioactive waste off the Swedish island of Gotland in the beginning of the 1990s, according to Sveriges Television (SVT).

·  Xinhua: Russia Ready for Dialogue with EU over Tactical Nuclear Weapons

·  The Moscow Times: Time for TART - After the follow-up agreement to the START is signed, Moscow and Washington should make a firm commitment to begin “TART” negotiations on reducing tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

· Russia-India's strategic reserve plan for wheat

·  The Moscow News: Regional train fares reviewed

·  Russia profile: Kaliningrad Rising - A Rare Show of Unity Amongst the Opposition Parties, the Largest Anti-Government Protest in Years, and a Governor in Trouble – Is There Something Different About Kaliningrad?

·  Russia profile: Outdated Paperwork - With the Arrival of the Apple iPad and Other Electronic Readers, Re-Opening the Baikal Cellulose Paper Mill Seems Absurd

·  The Moscow Times: A Mass Mailing of Khodorkovsky Chocolate and Mittens

· Georgia denies it supports terrorism in the North Caucasus

·  The Jamestown Foundation: Au Pays des Lumieres: Gazprom’s Partner Eutelsat Disconnects Georgian TV Channel

·  The Moscow news: State birth-raise program bails out mortgaged families

National Economic Trends

·  Bloomberg: Russian Economy Shrinks at Slowest Pace in 13 Months, VTB Says

·  Reuters: TABLE-Russia Jan GDP -0.3 pct y/y - VTB indicator

·  Itar-Tass: Influx of foreign direct investments in Russia exceeds $40 bln –PM

· A volatile oil price is the only serious risk for Russia - The main issue that should concern investors is the oil price, given that the rouble, government finances, and profits are heavily dependent upon this. Below $60 a barrel the market gets nervous, and more than $30 a barrel the whole macroeconomic framework looks fragile. This is the main tail risk.

·  Bloomberg: Russia Should Be More Rigorous in Monitoring Banks, IMF Says

Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions

·  Bloomberg: Norilsk Nickel, Polyus Gold, Rosneft: Russian Equity Preview

·  The Moscow Times: VEB Hires Bond Managers

·  MarketWatch: Russia's Uralkali raised to buy at Citigroup

·  Interfax: TMK placing $350 mln in convertible bonds

· TNK-BP $1bn Eurobond shows the way for sovereign issue

·  Interfax: VTB could unveil 2009 IFRS results in March, bring AGM forward

·  VTB Capital: Vedomosti speculates that Sberbank has created an investment banking department

·  Rencap: Sberbank CEO expects margins to fall in 2010

·  Steel Guru: Russia Chelyabinsk zinc Q4 2009 output up

·  AFP: Rusal pays creditors 2.14 billion dollars: company

·  Reuters: Russia RUSAL repays creditors $2.143 bln

·  Bloomberg: Rusal Cuts Debt to $12.9 Billion After Payments From IPO Cash

·  Bloomberg: Renaissance to Buy Leadbank, Names Gruzglin Head of Fixed Income

·  FinancialMirror: Bank of Cyprus sells Russian Leadbank to Renaissance Capital

·  AP: MDA signs two contracts with Russian firm worth a total of more than $60M

·  The Moscow Times: Proposal to Integrate National Payment System With Cell Phones

·  The Moscow Times: Alfa, Telenor Asset Merger Approved

·  PR Web: RT Gains Popularity On YouTube

·  The Financial: Aeroflot's enlargement designed to boost air safety, but carries risk

·  Bloomberg: Billionaire Blavatnik Said to Join Bidding for MGM (Update3)

· The call of the Russian investor - Most financiers have little stomach for technology investing in Russia, which is surprising, given the Soviet legacy of high-tech successes. In spite of the potential of a large pool of maths and science talent, most consider it too much of a risk.

·  The Moscow Times: Crisis Taught Firms About Consumers - Executives at some of the country's top consumer goods companies said Wednesday that while the crisis took a toll on their business, it also provided a number of valuable lessons about Russian consumers.

Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)

·  RIA: Oil leaks from recently launched Pacific oil pipeline

·  The Moscow Times: State to Give Rosneft New Sakhalin Fields

·  BusinessWire: NOVATEK and TOTAL close transaction for establishment of joint venture

·  WSJ: Novatek, Total To Develop Field In Russia's Yamal Region

·  Oil and Gas Journal: Output up at Russia's Verkhnechonskoe field

·  WSJ: Russia OKs $400 Mln Budget For Kharyaga Oil Field - Prime-Tass

·  WSJ: Rosneft Exec: Profit-Based Oil Tax Unlikely Before 2012


·  WSJ: UPDATE: Gazprom Sees Europe Gas Demand Rising In Decade

·  Bloomberg; Gazprom Expects Gas Exports to Asia to Reach European Levels

·  Reuters: Gazprom sees Europe gas use up 70 bcm by 2020

·  Oilprice: Gazprom: Angel or Demon? - Gazprom faces regular opprobrium for its bullying ways of using energy as a pressure and political tool. Seen by some, mostly Russians, as the symbol of a successful and strong Russia, others see it as a dominating juggernaut, economic right arm of the Kremlin implementing, or should we say, imposing its policies by using energy as a weapon.

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Basic Political Developments

RIA: Poland hails Russian plans to commemorate WWII Katyn massacre


WARSAW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - The Kremlin's invitation to Poland's premier to attend events to mark the massacre of thousands of Polish POWs by Soviets forces in WWII is an important step in the improvement of bilateral ties, the senate speaker said on Thursday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin invited his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk on Wednesday to attend a memorial service in April to mark the 1940 massacre. Tusk confirmed his participation in the event later in the day.

Bogdan Borusewicz said it was "an important signal from the Kremlin," and complicated bilateral ties "are increasingly improving." Borusewicz will visit Moscow on February 9 at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Sergei Mironov.

Over 20,000 Polish officers, police and civilians taken prisoner during the 1939 partitioning of Poland by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were killed in western Russia's Katyn forest, as well as in prisons and other locations, by the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB.

The Soviet Union acknowledged the massacre in 1990. Modern Russia also recognized Soviet responsibility for the mass shooting, but has not classified it as a war crime, something Warsaw has demanded.

The two Slavic nations have recently been at odds over Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's 1939 deal with Nazi Germany, which Warsaw says triggered the invasion of Poland and the start of WWII.

Putin moved to heal the rift over the massacre and the 1939 deal when he visited Poland in September to mark the 70th anniversary of its invasion. He called the killings "a crime" but urged "forgiveness." He said all European countries bear their share of responsibility for the outbreak of the war.

Warsaw Business Journal: Putin to be first Russian leader to honor Katyń dead

4th February 2010

Donald Tusk will join Russian PM in an event to commemorate victims of Stalinist massacre

In an historic move, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has invited Polish counterpart Donald Tusk to a joint Polish-Russian commemoration of the Stalinist massacre of Polish prisoners at Katyń.

Mr Putin will be the first Russian leader to visit the cemetery at the site.

The crime has cast a shadow over Polish-Russian relations for decades. After years of Soviet denials, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin admitted that the massacre was carried out by Stalin's forces.

Even so, some in Russia still insist that it was Germany that carried out the mass murder.

"The invitation has a symbolic dimension," said Mr Tusk. "For the first time the premiers of Poland and Russia will jointly commemorate the anniversary of the Katyń atrocity. the participation of Premier Putin in the ceremonies for the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, and now this invitation generate hope that our discussion about the history of Poland and Russia will slowly but consequently continue. And also that Polish-Russian relations will improve."

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza

Dow Jones: Argentina, Russia Looking To Cooperate On Nuclear Technology


BUENOS AIRES -(Dow Jones)- Argentine and Russian leaders on Wednesday pledged to share technical information related to the construction of nuclear power plants.