News From Russia: December 2nd, 2008!

RBC, 02.12.2008, Moscow 15:04:50.The Russian judicial system must be made effective enough to reduce the number of lawsuits filed with international courts to a minimum, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the 7th congress of judges in Moscow today. He did not rule out the possibility that, to achieve this goal, the Russian court system would have to be transformed. The Strasbourg Court and any other international courts cannot, and should not, substitute for Russian courts, the president stressed.

RBC, 02.12.2008, Moscow 14:47:58.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assured the 7th congress of judges in Moscow that the fundamental problems of Russia’s judicial system had been solved. He pointed out that over the last several years, Russia saw the establishment of constitutional relations, economic and administrative court proceedings, and reestablished trial juries.

RBC, 02.12.2008, Moscow 14:38:11.Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev will pay an official visit to India on December 4-6. According to the president’s press office, Medvedev will take part in an official ceremony marking the end of the Year of Russia in India on December 5.

RBC, 02.12.2008, Moscow 12:40:07.The Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank) and the Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) have signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation today, the Russian state corporation’s press office reported. The document stipulates deeper ties between Russian and Bahraini financial institutions and the joint financing of product and service exports to other countries. The agreement also aims at the development of long-term interests of Russian industrial producers involved in the mechanical engineering, transportation, timber, and construction materials industries.

RBC, 02.12.2008, Moscow 09:58:10.As of December 1, Russia’s Reserve Fund totaled RUB 3.661 trillion (USD 131.63bn), and National Wealth Fund amounted to RUB 2.108 trillion (USD 76.38bn), the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement. The balances of accounts in the Reserve Fund stood at RUB 20bn, USD 63.99bn, EUR 43.81bn, and GBP 7.31bn, while the National Wealth Fund’s currency accounts break down as follows: RUB 474.9bn, USD 22.05bn, EUR 15.35bn, GBP 2.62bn, and RUB 365bn on deposits in Vnesheconombank.

RBC, 01.12.2008, Moscow 19:48:42.Transneft will issue long-term ruble bonds to finance the Baltic Pipeline System-2 project. The issue is provided for in today’s government’s decree to launch the pipeline’s design. According to the document, the Energy Ministry, in collaboration with the Economy Ministry, Regional Development Ministry, the Finance Ministry, Russia’s Federal Tariff Service and Vnesheconombank, is to work out schemes to finance the pipeline expansion project within three months after receiving a feasibility study from Transneft. In addition, they will devise a financing scheme to revamp the existing pipelines. To this end, the long-term bonds will be placed by private subscription among financial organizations with considerable state-run stakes. In addition, the financing for a branch to Kirishi, a city in the Leningrad region, should be approved within the same period.

RBC, 01.12.2008, Moscow 15:59:09.The current price level of Russian company shares is “an ugly and unfair phenomenon,” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at the opening of today’s Presidium meeting. He noted that the fall had primarily resulted from trading decisions made abroad, which were hardly based on the actual state of affairs. As a result, the market capitalization of companies is much lower than their real value, Putin maintained, adding that there were even cases when Russian companies’ market value was lower than the amount of funds on their accounts. He added that, while the Russian leadership did not plan to limit foreign activities on domestic markets, the creation of a wide class of Russian investors was still among its priorities.

RBC, 01.12.2008, Moscow 14:59:15.The Bank of Russia has extended another loan worth RUB 65.9bn (approx. USD 2.39bn) to rehabilitate 10 different banks, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told a Presidium meeting today. He explained that the money would be lent to regionally important banks. The minister added that the banks would be able to recover and continue their activities. He noted, however, that there were difficulties with other banks, whose licenses were now being revoked by the Central Bank. Kudrin stressed that these banks were not significant for federal or regional financial markets, adding that the Deposit Insurance Agency would be involved at once in case of such banks.