Russian News From Russia: March 10th, 2009!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 16:41:45.Naftogaz of Ukraine has confirmed its commitment to pay Windows to Russia!for Russian gas supplies in a timely manner, Valentin Zemlyansky, the company’s press secretary, announced during a live link-up today. He stressed that Naftogaz of Ukraine had proven its financial soundness by paying for January and February supplies on time. “We have abided by this schedule and will continue to do so from now on,” he said.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 16:38:05.Gazprom and Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) have signed a basis agreement on cooperation in the construction of a gas pipeline and natural gas transit through the territory of Hungary as part of the South Stream pipeline project. The document was signed by Gazprom’s Chairman Alexei Miller and MFB’s President Janos Eros in Moscow. The agreement sets forth the principles for cooperation during the initial investment stage, as well as other stages. It also provides for the creation of a joint venture to develop the construction draft for Hungary’s stretch of the pipeline.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 15:47:28.The first meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama will take place in London on April 1, the Russian leader said during today’s meeting with members of an independent commission on studying the U.S. policy towards Russia. According to Medvedev, he will discuss the key points of U.S.-Russia relations, including the matter regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Russian leader believes that the two countries can move forward in their bilateral relations and get a fresh start. “The signals I have been getting from President Barack Obama are quite positive,” the Echo of Moscow cited Medvedev as saying.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 15:28:01.Some 73 percent of Russians say that they completely trust or somewhat trust President Dmitry Medvedev this year, a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) showed. Last year, only 56 percent of respondents claimed to trust the Russian leader. At the same time, 16 percent of Russians distrust Medvedev (up from 11 percent last year) and another 11 percent could not make up their minds on the matter.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 14:51:55.According to the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus outstripped Russia in terms of inflation in January 2009, with prices there rising 2.6, 2.9 and 4.1 percent, respectively, compared to the 2.4-percent showing in Russia. Lithuania experienced the highest jump in prices in the European Union, followed closely by Latvia (2.1 percent), the Czech Republic (1.4 percent) and Romania (1.2 percent). Meanwhile, the average EU drop in consumer prices was at just 0.6 percent in January.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 13:38:36.Auchan plans to open six new hypermarkets in Russia in 2009, thus increasing its chain to a total of 39 stores, Auchan Russia’s member of the Board of Directors and Management Control Director, Ludovic Holinier, told journalists today. The stores will be opened in Omsk, Samara, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. Documents for two more facilities are awaiting signatures. According to Holinier, the hypermarket in Moscow will be opened in the city’s Southern District. Each new facility’s area will average 13,000 square meters. Holinier stressed that investment targets had not changed for 2009. However, the company has not yet disclosed its financials. The company’s development plans for the next three years have also remained unchanged from the pre-crisis period, Holinier stated.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 12:23:04.Russian stocks opened on an upbeat note, with the Micex index rising 2.38 percent to 705.25 points, and the RTS index inching up 1.77 percent to 586.6 points above last week’s closing. On Micex, Polyus Gold slid 1.78 percent, and Polymetal 0.85 percent, with nearly all blue chips rising. VTB added 4.52 percent, Rosneft 4.62 percent, Surgutneftegas 4.07 percent, Lukoil 3.76 percent, Gazprom Neft 3.23 percent, and Gazprom 2.4 percent. On the RTS, Surgutneftegas went up 3.03 percent.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 10:49:15.As one of the anti-crisis measures, the Moscow government is expected to provide additional funds to organizations participating in the realization of programs for wholesale food supplies in 2009. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov signed a decree to this effect, the government’s press office told RBC. Before receiving the funds, each company’s financial standing will be closely examined.

RBC, 10.03.2009, Moscow 09:45:32.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will hold a meeting of the anti-corruption council in the Kremlin today. Earlier, in late 2008, the Russian leader signed a federal law on countering corruption that was passed by the State Duma on December 19 and the Federation Council on December 22.

RBC, 06.03.2009, St. Petersburg 18:55:40.The government will allot RUB 10.5bn (approx. USD 292.56m) to support the shipbuilding industry in 2009, Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko stated at a meeting on civil marine engineering development. According to the minister, the figure already factors in budget optimization, and includes amounts allotted for all projects. In 2010, RUB 17.5bn (approx. USD 487.6m) more will be spent to this end. Some of the projects to be financed with the money are aimed to improve Russia’s defensive capacity.