Some News From Russia… (9/29/2010)

Russian News From Russia...

The Russian government may allocate RUB 24.5bn (approx. USD 800m) to Gazprom in the form of subsidies in 2011-2013 to cover the difference between the gas purchase price from the operator of the Sakhlain-2 project and the price set for gas supplies to energy companies in the Far East via the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok gas transporting system. The figure was included in the supplement to the federal budget draft law for the next three years.

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Syktyvkar Yuri Luzhkov should have taken timely steps to improve his relations with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told a press briefing today. According to Putin, Luzhkov did a great deal for Moscow’s development and is a prominent figure in modern Russia. “However, it is quite obvious that his rapport with the president was poor, and the mayor is the president’s subordinate, after all, and not vice versa. Considering this, he should have been the one to make a move to normalize the situation,” the PM said. Putin also stated that Luzhkov’s dismissal was carried out in accordance with the law. He went on to indicate that Medvedev had already discussed potential candidates with United Russia, noting that he himself would probably have a say on the matter.

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Acting President of Moldova and speaker of the Moldovan parliament Mihai Ghimpu has signed a decree on the dismissal of the parliament. The dismissal became effective today, and the next parliamentary elections have been scheduled for November 28, 2010. The decree was signed in the presence of journalists who were invited to the press briefing.

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is confident that the presidential election in Belarus will be held in accordance with the law. He made this statement during his trip to Shanghai. “I am sure that Belarusians will make a choice and it will be done within the rule of law,” he stated. In response to a question about his expectations regarding the outcome of the elections, he said, “I do not expect anything good. Just kidding, of course.” The Russian leader stressed that Russians in general and he personally “cared about the fate of Belarus and its citizens.”

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Lukoil and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed an agreement on the expansion of strategic cooperation in Beijing on Monday, the Russian energy giant indicated in a press release today.

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Ukraine’s Fuel and Energy Ministry has denied information distributed by a number of the country’s media sources stating that Kiev was posing hurdles for natural gas supplies to Poland. According to the ministry’s press office, the full volume of gas delivered to Ukraine’s eastern border is being transited in full to European consumers in accordance with existing transit agreements. The ministry specified that Naftogaz of Ukraine had not received any proposals from Poland’s PGNiG or Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas on the transit of additional gas supplies. The company is currently providing services involving Gazprom’s gas transit in accordance with the long-term agreement dated January 19, 2009. Yesterday, some Ukrainian publications, citing a source from the ministry, announced that Naftogaz, upon Gazprom’s request, had refused to transport the natural gas to E.ON Ruhrgas in Poland. Media sources insist that this is the Russian energy monopoly’s way of forcing Poland to consent to the Russian company’s control over the management of Ymal-Europe gas pipeline.

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Synergy, a Russian producer of distilled spirits, has announced the placement of 2.9m ordinary shares, or 15 percent of all issued and outstanding shares, as part of the Secondary Public Offering (SPO), the company announced in a statement today.

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The Bank of Russia’s board of directors has passed a decision to keep the discount rate at its current level of 7.75 percent per annum, the Central Bank announced in a statement today. The last time the regulator cut the interest rate was on June 30, and the rate has so far been reduced four times this year. At the beginning of the year, the discount rate stood at 8.75 percent.

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on the dismissal of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the Kremlin’s press office announced this morning. According to the document, the decision was passed due to the Russian leader’s “loss of trust” in the mayor. First Deputy Mayor Vladimir Resin has been appointed acting mayor until a new person takes office. Luzhkov has been Moscow’s mayor for over 18 years, since June 6, 1992. Rumors of his potential dismissal have been circulating for quite a while, but he always managed to keep his post. The official date for the expiration of Luzhkov’s powers is July 2011.

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Russia and Kyrgyzstan have settled all the unresolved issues surrounding the deployment of Russia’s military facilities in the country, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Russia Valery Gerasimov said. As reported earlier, rumor was rife just a few weeks ago that Kyrgyzstan’s authorities were willing to reconsider the terms of stay for Russian troops. Now, however, the matter has been closed. It could still involve a higher lease payment for Russia, which is currently being negotiated by the parties. Russia’s armed forces control 4 facilities in Kyrgyzstan: an airbase in the town of Kant, a communications center of the Russian Navy in the village of Chaldovar, a torpedo testing facility on the Issyk Kul lake, and a seismograph station in the town of Maili-Suu. All of these facilities will now be subordinated to a single command. As reported earlier, on September 20, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that the Russian military base issue had been discussed with Kyrgyzstan’s government under former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. “Discussions were spearheaded by Kyrgyzstan, but then died out due to a lack of enthusiasm on Kyrgyzstan’s side. The issue of regulating and streamlining our military presence in Kyrgyzstan based on intergovernmental agreements has been discussed, on and off, for several years now,” Lavrov explained.

That is all for now…

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