News From Russia: December 5th, 2008!

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 13:51:54.Inflation reached 0.8 percent in Russia in November and 12.5 percent for the first 11 months of 2008, the Russia’s Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said in a statement. In 2007, inflation stood at 1.2 percent in November, amounting to 10.6 percent for the first 11 months. Core inflation, which excludes price changes for certain goods prone to administrative and seasonality factors, was 1.1 percent in November 2008 and 12.7 percent from the beginning of the year.

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 13:22:15.The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is set to hold an emergency meeting today, due to the death of Patriarch Alexy II, the Moscow Patriarchate reported. According to the established procedure, an extraordinary Church Council will be held to elect a new patriarch. The successor to Alexius II will become the 16th Patriarch of All-Russia.

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 12:18:34.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill on the execution of the federal budget in 2007, which was passed by the State Duma on November 19 and the Federation Council on November 26, 2008, the leader’s press office reported today.

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 11:52:01.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed into law amendments to existing federal legislation on customs tariffs. The document was adopted by the State Duma on November 21 and approved by the Federation Council on November 26, the Russian leader’s press office reported today.

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 11:43:18.The Bank of Russia has decided to further widen the range of ruble’s fluctuations against the basket of two currencies by RUB 0.30 (approx. USD 0.011) at either end, a source in the Central Bank told RBC today.

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 10:50:11.Rosoboronexport is planning to sign a contract for the supply of 80 Mi-17 multirole military and cargo helicopters to India, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Mikhail Dmitriyev said in Delhi, where Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is scheduled to hold talks with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Mayak radio station reported today.

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 10:30:36.Russia’s monetary base (in the narrow sense of the term) decreased by RUB 132.6bn (approx. USD 4.74bn) to just shy of RUB 4.229 trillion (approx. USD 151.25bn) as of December 1, 2008 from a week earlier, the Bank of Russia’s external and public relations department reported. The figure stood at slightly over RUB 4.361 trillion (approx. USD 155.97bn) on November 24.

RBC, 04.12.2008, Moscow 19:28:28.Russian stocks traded mixed in the afternoon, following this morning’s trend. At midday, stocks inched up amid low trading activity, with leading indices reaching positive territory. Towards the close of business, however, a negative mood took hold of the RTS, with the index falling more than 1 percent below the psychologically important mark of 600 points. At closing, the RTS index was down 0.56 percent at 599.96 points. The MICEX index, however, edged up 0.17 percent today, finishing at 567.94 points.

RBC, 04.12.2008, Moscow 18:27:52.The ideology defined as “right-wing, liberal ideas, economic freedom, human rights, political democracy, and rapprochement with the West” finds support from 14 percent of Russians today, a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) showed. Liberalism is less popular than the nationalist-conservative and the left socialist ideologies, supported by 33 and 24 percent of respondents, respectively. Meanwhile, more than half of Russians (52 percent) have never voted for liberals in elections, and 49 percent do not plan to do so in the next election.

RBC, 04.12.2008, Moscow 17:33:14.For the first time since late September 2008, Russia’s reserves expanded $5bn to $454.9bn as of November 28, 2008. Experts link the slight rise to a $14bn increase in the National Wealth Fund in November. On top of that, a mere $2bn was spent to revaluate the currency. Analysts, however, regard the rise as temporary, predicting that the reserves will continue declining while the ruble remains overvalued. It is quite possible that the government will have to use the entire Reserve Fund to finance budget deficit, which, according to analysts, may widen to $35bn. The National Wealth Fund could be used as a source for investment or support for the pension system, analysts say. Part of the funds has recently been transferred to Vnesheconombank and will be used to purchase securities and extend subordinated loans to Russian banks.

RBC, 04.12.2008, Moscow 15:45:37.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believes that Georgians should decide for themselves what responsibility their politicians should bear for their actions that led to the drastic consequences in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he said, answering Russians’ questions in a live broadcast on national television and radio. The Georgian leadership unleashed a bloodbath, massacring residents of South Ossetia and wiping out 10 Ossetian villages. Moreover, Russian peacekeepers were attacked and many of them killed. Putin believes this was a crime against the Georgian statehood and people. “Had there been no aggression, Russia would probably still be making efforts to facilitate Georgia’s territorial reintegration. After the aggression, it has become obvious that this was no longer possible,” Putin said.