News From Russia: December 16th, 2008!

RBC, 16.12.2008, Moscow 09:56:24.Russia’s male population numbered 65.7 million and the female population 76.3 million in early 2008, as women outnumbered men by 16 percent (10.6 million people), the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported. Women are seen to outnumber men by population from the age of 28 years old, and the gap increases with age. The only two Russian regions where the male population was higher than female were the Chukotka autonomous district and the Kamchatka region, where there are 931 and 980 women for each 1,000 men, respectively.

RBC, 16.12.2008, Chisinau 09:24:50.Informal 5+2 consultations on the Transnistrian peace process with the participation of guarantor countries and mediators from Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE, and monitors from the EU and the United States, as well as representatives from Chisinau and Tiraspol will take place in Vienna today. Transnistrian President Igor Smirnov was notified of the scheduled consultations by the breakaway republic’s Foreign Minister Vladimir Yastrebchak, the leader’s press office told RBC.

RBC, 15.12.2008, Moscow 16:59:09.The government will lend support to roughly 300 nationwide companies as part of its plan to shore up the Russian economy’s real sector, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin announced following today’s meeting of the government’s Presidium. Specifically, the government is ready to aid companies working on special technologies in the defense sector. Kudrin also added that each of Russia’s federal subjects had to prepare its lists of troubled companies that were vital for the region or providing the main source of employment in certain cities and towns.

RBC, 15.12.2008, Moscow 15:54:09.The government will provide support to at least 1,500 Russian companies to stabilize the economic situation in the country, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told the government’s Presidium today. The PM said that the list of these companies was to be approved by Wednesday, adding that they would together account for 85 percent of Russia’s GDP. The annual turnover of most of them exceeds RUB 15bn-RUB 16bn (approx. USD 539m-USD 575m) each, and the head count tops 4,000 employees. Support must also be lent to companies employing more than 30 percent of the labor force in a particular city or town, Putin said.

RBC, 15.12.2008, Moscow 14:47:38.The visit of Russian warships to Venezuela, Panama, and Nicaragua marks a steady trend towards closer relations between the navies of Russia and those countries, aide to Russia’s navy chief Igor Dygalo said, adding that the move contributed to stability and trust in the world’s oceans and seas.

RBC, 15.12.2008, Moscow 14:37:36.The MICEX index grew 5.5 percent to 655 points, and the RTS index added 5.5 percent as well, reaching 688 points. On MICEX, the gainers were led by Gazprom Neft (up 10 percent), LUKoil (up 8 percent) and Sberbank (up 7.5 percent).

RBC, 15.12.2008, Moscow 12:25:17.The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) expects Russia to cut oil production by 200,000-300,000 barrels per day in 2009, head of LUKoil Vagit Alekperov told journalists today. He emphasized that the decision was to be made by the Russian government, and that if approved, Russian oil companies were ready to follow it. Alekperov added that oil producers were ready to inform the government on the specific oil fields and wells on which operations could be suspended with minimum losses, and where it would be easy to resume production.