News From Russia: February 6th, 2009!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 06.02.2009, Moscow 15:21:51.Russia expects the United States to provide Windows to Russia!specific information on the amount and nature of NATO’s non-military cargo that it hopes to transport to Afghanistan through Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Vesti TV channel today. Just a few days ago, the United States asked Russia to allow such transportation in accordance with a relevant agreement signed by Russia and NATO in April 2008, Lavrov explained, and Russia “gave consent literally within a day.” As soon as the United States provides the necessary information, he added, Russia will issue permission.

RBC, 06.02.2009, Moscow 15:01:53.In 2008, 34,000 corruption crimes committed by state and municipal officials abusing their position were registered in Russia, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said during the Interior Ministry’s board meeting on the past year’s results. He added that 32,000 criminal cases involving corruption had been submitted to courts.

RBC, 06.02.2009, Moscow 14:41:42.Passenger car imports to Russia grew 24.5 percent to nearly 1.993m cars in 2008 compared to the previous year and amounted to roughly $30.259bn, the Federal Customs Service reported today. To be more specific, nearly 1.839m cars worth some $29.101bn were imported from countries outside the CIS, and 154,300 cars were imported from the CIS for nearly $1.158bn. At the same time, Russia exported 128,400 cars worth $910.2m in 2008, virtually unchanged from the previous year. The figure included 14,000 cars exported to countries outside the CIS and 114,400 to the CIS, worth $104.2m and $806m, respectively.

RBC, 06.02.2009, Moscow 14:02:20.In the wake of the financial crisis, Russia must improve its control over budget spending, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in his speech at an Interior Ministry board meeting on the results of 2008 today. “There is a lot of money, inflation has increased, and this is exacerbating the criminal situation,” the president said.

RBC, 06.02.2009, Moscow 13:33:43.Russia’s machinery and equipment exports grew 15.06 percent to $20.475bn in 2008 compared to a year earlier, the country’s Federal Customs Service reported. Specifically, exports outside the CIS reached $11.503bn and $8.972bn to the CIS. Meanwhile, machinery and equipment imports to Russia increased 39.14 percent to $136.458bn, including $128.967bn from outside the CIS and $7.491bn from CIS member states.

RBC, 06.02.2009, Moscow 13:28:46.Russia’s international reserves stood at $386.894bn as of February 1, 2009, a 9.4-percent fall from January 1, the Bank of Russia said in a statement today. Specifically, reserve assets in foreign currency amounted to $346.586bn, special drawing rights (SDRs) were little changed at $1m, and Russia’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stood at $1.018bn (down 3.1 percent). Gold included in international reserves exceeded $43.215bn (up 6.4 percent), and other reserve assets $23.823bn (up 4.5 times).

RBC, 06.02.2009, Moscow 11:40:14.In 2008, 3.2m crimes were registered in Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev said during the Interior Ministry’s board meeting as he summed up the past year’s results. He noted that 1.5m of them were economic crimes or those involving infringement on property rights. Among the Interior Ministry’s key priorities, Medvedev cited improving the investigative work required to bring criminals to justice. He reiterated that the perpetrators of 1.5m crimes, including 2,300 murders and murder attempts, were not identified in 2008, attributing it mostly to insufficient investigations.

RBC, 05.02.2009, Moscow 19:26:03.The Russian government does not think it expedient for the government to buy into tier I capital of private banks, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated at a cabinet meeting today. The government, he said, has no intention to buy up shares of privately-owned banks, all the more so as it could impinge on the rights of minority shareholders.