Inspired by driving the latest Lada Kalina sports model through the Siberian tundra last week Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told news channel Vesti 24 that Russia will gradually increase import duties on foreign carmakers from the existing 30% to encourage them to open manufacturing plants in Russia.
A poll by the independent Levada Centre of 1,600 Russians shows 37% consider Putin has failed to curb corruption in the country. The poll was conducted at the end of July this year and the results published today on the polling company's wen site. The battle against corruption was cited as the biggest failure of Putin, who was president for two terms from 2000 to 2008, and then became Prime Minister.
Just as Russian emergency officials were reporting some success in taming the fires ravaging the countryside, heavy smoke has finally hit Moscow, bringing the city to a near standstill. But that's not as scary as the more important possible effect on the global wheat sector. The wildfires and a severe drought have devastated more than a third of cultivable land in Russia, leading Putin to impose a temporary ban on grain exports last week.
Russia to build new spaceport
The Russian government will set aside 25 billion rubles (US$ 820 million) for the construction of a new spaceport in the country’s far east, prime minister Vladimir Putin announced on Monday. The Wostotschnyj (‘Eastern’) cosmodrome in the Amur region close to the Chinese border is to fully replace the Baikonur launch site in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
Oil to telecomms giant Sistema can count on government support
Oil to Telecomms giant AFK Sistema, controlled by chief executive Vladimir Yevtushenkov, a brother-in-law of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, is at the forefront of Russian technology deals with Europe and India. Yevtushenkov controls 62% of Sistema, the largest public diversified financial corporation in Russia and the CIS, which manages companies serving over 100 million customers in the sectors of telecommunications, high-tech, oil and energy, radio and aerospace, banking, real estate, retail, mass-media, tourism and healthcare services.
THE 'SPY' SCANDAL: A DOG THAT COULDN'T BARK
by Gordon Hahn
The present ‘spy’ scandal is a tempest in a teapot that will have no effect on the thaw in U.S.-Russian relations, the balance of power within Russia’s ruling tandem of President Dmitry Medvedev and Premier Vladimir Putin, or the Barack Obama administration’s credibility.
France cements Russian relationship
French President Nicolas Sarkozy consigned the cold war to history this weekend, setting the seal on a relationship that will see France supplying Mistral warships to Russia, France's Arianespace buying $500 million space rockets from Roskosmos, French energy companies EDF and Gaz De France buying into pipelines to carry Russian gas to Europe and French oil major Total increasing its investment in Russian oil fields.