News From Russia: December 30th, 2008!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 29.12.2008, Kiev 17:43:45.The Ukrainian president’s administration does notWindows to Russia! rule out the possibility that Naftogaz of Ukraine could file for bankruptcy in 2009, RBC Ukraine reported today. The source in the administration said that the 2009 budget provided for a mere USD 211.9m to cover the gap between the gas import price and prices for the population. However, the actual amount could run up close to USD 1.22bn, suggesting that Naftogaz of Ukraine will either raise gas tariffs, or go bust.

RBC, 29.12.2008, Moscow 17:15:33.No crises can affect the priorities of Russia’s economic and social policy, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev told the final government meeting today. The priorities, including innovative development, upgrading of and maximum support for the social sphere, and entrepreneurship development, remain unchanged, he stressed. However much macroeconomic forecasts may change, the major development guidelines for the economy must remain unshakable.

RBC, 29.12.2008, Moscow 16:27:00.Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev termed Russia’s overall performance for the full year as “decent,” with the government moving confidently towards objectives it had set. At the government’s final meeting this year, he stressed that their efforts had been focused on implementing fundamental principles of the social and economic development strategy until 2020, as well as those laid down in short- and mid-term planning documents. In the second half of 2008, Russia was forced to kick-start preparations for the global economic crisis. “We are fully aware that the source of the crisis lies outside the Russian economy, and we are effectively paying a high price for a string of irresponsible decisions made in other countries,” which “warmed” their economies by putting the global economy at risk, the president stated.

RBC, 29.12.2008, Moscow 15:57:45.At today’s government meeting, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev lauded the government’s anti-crisis program as well-balanced. Although the program “is not perfect,” it is nevertheless able to withstand “the toughest challenges,” the president observed. Moreover, the program is being adjusted on a weekly basis, he noted, adding that this was an indispensable measure.

RBC, 29.12.2008, Moscow 15:42:49.It is vital to preserve the unity of power in the face of global challenges and Russia is lucky to have it, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said today. He elaborated that the president, the government and the Federal Assembly had been cooperating closely to tackle their common tasks. This has to be maintained, Medvedev asserted, lest the nation be confronted with tremendous problems.

RBC, 29.12.2008, Moscow 15:19:57.Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believes that Russia has built an “anti-crisis decision-making architecture.” According to a statement he made at a government meeting today, he expects that all the measures will work in 2009, particularly the system to prop up liquidity in the financial sector, steps to maintain demand, and aid to strategic core companies in the real economy. The moves the government has made so far will help prevent a sharp drop in living standards and production, and lend resilience to the financial system. The government, is even ready to take further action, if needed, the PM said. He thanked the State Duma for rapidly passing anti-crisis laws, as prompt implementation of the measures was of critical importance for the economy.

RBC, 29.12.2008, Moscow 11:22:48.According to an unofficial source in the Bank of Russia, the bank has once again widened the ruble’s trading band against the basket of two currencies – the euro and the dollar. The source, however, withheld any further details.

RBC, 29.12.2008, Moscow 15:24:19.Rosneft is planning to refinance or pay back roughly $9bn of its debt, the Russian oil company’s President Sergei Bogdanchikov said in an interview today. He pointed out that the company’s total debt currently amounted to $23bn. Bogdanchikov reiterated that Rosneft paid back $16bn in 2008, including $7bn from its own funds. The company is also planning to repay another $250m before the year-end.

About the Author