News From Russia: February 17th, 2009!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 17.02.2009, Moscow 13:04:08.The Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has opened a law suite against Lukoil, TNK-BP, Gazprom Neft and Rosneft for setting unreasonably Windows to Russia!high prices for oil products on the retail and wholesale markets, head of the service Igor Artemyev told journalists today.

RBC, 17.02.2009, Moscow 12:40:24.Olimpstroy is ready to announce the first winners of a tender for the performance of works in the construction of Olympic facilities. Forty-five days after all the corresponding documentation is checked, the winners will be able to begin work on the construction sites. All the tenders for the construction of Olympic facilities will be announced this year. Olimpstroy oversees a total of over 40 facilities.

RBC, 17.02.2009, Moscow 12:16:21.The Russian Federal Service for Surveillance in the Field of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor) plans to provide anti-crisis consultations for the population, head of the service Gennady Onishchenko told a press conference today. He pointed out that a special hotline to provide information about “what to do, and how to start your own business” would be launched. Furthermore, the hotline’s operators will provide consultations on eating healthy without spending too much money. Onishchenko also indicated that the same type of information would be available on the service’s website. He did not specify the exact date for the launch of such consultations, however, noting that the watchdog was planning to do research on which areas were most attractive to Russians for opening small-sized businesses.

RBC, 17.02.2009, Chisinau 11:41:35.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov plans to pay an official visit to Moldova on February 23, 2009, the republic’s government reported to RBC. Lavrov is expected to meet Moldovan authorities to discuss bilateral cooperation in different spheres, as well as the settlement of the Transnistrian dispute. Moldova places great hopes on Lavrov’s visit, as it is expected to help further improve relations between Russia and Moldova.

RBC, 17.02.2009, Moscow 11:27:37.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas during a visit to Israel and the PNA on Monday. The prospects of settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict took center stage in the discussion, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported today. Lavrov expressed regret over numerous deaths of civilians in the Gaza Strip during a recent military operation, stressing that such events must never be repeated. Furthermore, the Russian official insists that the blockade of Gaza must be lifted. The parties also discussed the possibility of restoring Palestinian unity on the basis of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

RBC, 17.02.2009, Bishkek 10:55:39.The Kyrgyz parliament’s committee for international affairs and intergovernmental cooperation has urged the deputies to consider during the next session the denunciation of an agreement with the United States on the deployment of its military base in Bishkek’s airport Manas. According to the republic’s parliament, the next session has been scheduled for Thursday.

RBC, 17.02.2009, Moscow 10:25:06.Experts foresee a sell-off in foreign currencies on the Russian market, which is expected to push the ruble higher on Micex. Advance payments on the single social tax, insurance premiums, and half of excise amounts, which were due on Monday, failed to boost demand for the ruble as they had done in the past. Experts believe that taxpayers sold currency in advance. As reported earlier, the dollar jumped RUB 0.52 and the euro RUB 0.49 yesterday.

RBC, 17.02.2009, Moscow 09:56:52.Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Iran’s Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, will discuss current and prospective issues of bilateral relations concerning the two countries’ military agencies. As reported by the Russian Defense Ministry’s press and information office, Najjar arrived in the Russian capital on February 16.