Russian News: July 15th, 2008!

RBC, 15.07.2008, Moscow 13:25:08.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has approved a concept for Russia’s foreign policy, the Russian leader’s press office reported today. The official text of the document will be published in on the President’s website in the nearest future.

RBC, 15.07.2008, London 11:39:34.Evraz Group’s quarterly steel production grew 12.6 percent, from 4.164m tonnes in the second quarter of 2007 to 4.69m tonnes in Q2 2008, the Russian steel and mining company said in a press release today. Pig iron production increased 13.8 percent from 3.188m tonnes to 3.628m tonnes, and rolled products output rose 18.2 percent from 3.828m tonnes to 4.524m tonnes.

RBC, 15.07.2008, Moscow 11:10:02.Sky Express handled 489,335 passengers in the first half of 2008, a 2.5-times increase from the same period of the previous year, the Russian air carrier’s press office reported today. The flights to St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad were the most popular, accounting for 17 percent and 14.5 percent of the total number of the airline’s passengers, respectively. Passenger traffic surged 2.4 times to roughly 609.568m passenger-kilometers, and cargo traffic soared by a factor of 5.2 to 654,430 tonne-kilometers. The amount of cargo and mail transported by Sky Express increased sixfold to 463.2 tonnes.

RBC, 15.07.2008, Moscow 09:58:54.The Russian state technology corporation will receive government stakes in 228 joint stock companies, 180 federal state unitary enterprises being converted into joint stock companies, and 12 enterprises controlled by Rosoboronexport, all as part of a contribution in kind from the Russian Federation. Therefore, stakes in a total of 420 companies will be transferred to the newly formed state corporation, the Russian President’s press office announced, citing a corresponding provision from a decree signed by President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday.

RBC, 14.07.2008, Moscow 18:52:59.The global financial crisis is not yet over, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin told journalists today. He noted that new problems would arise as the crisis deepened. However, the best news, according to Pankin, was that Russia’s financial community had worked out ways of handling the crisis. He said that now it was clear which threats Russia had to face regarding the crisis and that the methods of dealing with these threats had been found.

RBC, 14.07.2008, Moscow 18:26:52.Russia will make efforts to change the approach for determining the stakes of the World Bank’s shareholders, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin told today’s press conference on the results of the recent G8 summit. He noted that Russia would seek to make the current approach more reasonable and objective. The Deputy Minister reiterated that amendments to the method of calculating votes and stakes in the IMF’s share capital had already been made. The IMF’s new strategy is to be considered soon, Pankin said, adding that Russia would take an active part in the process. An interesting dialog has started between the Finance Ministries of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), Pankin stated, referring to the potential of these countries joining forces to reform the bloc’s old financial institutions. It is even possible that the ministries will come to a conclusion that new institutions must be created, as the old ones cannot respond to new challenges any longer, Pankin pointed out.

RBC, 14.07.2008, Moscow 17:29:46.The Russian military will have to take certain steps to neutralize the effect of the missile shield to be deployed in eastern Europe, Deputy Foreign Ministry Sergei Kislyak said today. He did not specify the measures Russia might take, saying that specialists had yet to make a decision on the matter. Kislyak reiterated that the US had made several proposals to Russia to ensure transparency in the issue of anti-missile shield. However, Kislyak noted that the suggestions had been insufficient to ensure transparency.

RBC, 14.07.2008, London 16:26:28.Total investment in the development of a new Russian short- and mid-range jet MC-21 is estimated at RUB 150bn (approx. USD 6.42bn), President of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Alexei Fyodorov said during Farnborough international airspace exhibition. He pointed out that the figure included the cost of engine production, adding that the government was actively supporting the project. Some RUB 90bn (approx. USD 3.85bn) will be allocated for the development and construction of the MC-21 as part of the federal target program.

RBC, 14.07.2008, Moscow 14:58:47.Russia has the highest percentage of smokers in the world, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said during today’s meeting on the development of healthcare that was held in Klin, a city located in the Moscow region, the Vesti TV channel reported. Medvedev pointed out that 50 percent of Russians smoke and that men account for 65 percent of the country’s smokers.