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Jun 25, 2014

Soviet industrial giant’s struggle symbolises Russia’s economic dilemma

YEKATERINBURG, Russia, June 25 (Reuters) – Viktor Livshits
will never forget May 9, 1945, the day he first laid eyes on
Uralmash, a giant factory making tanks and other heavy machinery
that has for decades symbolised Russia’s industrial might.

“I stood on a tank. The square was full of people. Then my
father took me to the factory. Past us there drove tanks,
self-propelled guns, cannon,” he reminisces, waving a hand
towards First Five-Year Plan Square in front of the factory.

Jun 24, 2014

Russia mulls barring firms from using foreign-owned banks

MOSCOW, June 24 (Reuters) – Russia is considering banning
state companies and other strategically important firms from
holding accounts at foreign-owned banks, a governmental source
familiar with the proposals told Reuters on Tuesday.

“Such an idea is lingering, but there is no decision about
it as yet,” the source said.

Jun 17, 2014

Russia’s central bank signals plan to float rouble still on track

MOSCOW, June 17 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank is
continuing to scale back its support for the rouble, signalling
that its plan to let the currency float freely from the
beginning of next year remains on track.

Underlining confidence among policymakers that Russian
markets have stabilised after being knocked by Western sanctions
over Ukraine, the central bank announced on Tuesday a
combination of moves that in effect reduce the size of
interventions to curb currency market fluctuations.

Jun 16, 2014

Russian central bank leaves rates on hold, warns on future hikes

MOSCOW, June 16 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank left its
key interest rate on hold as expected on Monday, citing concerns
about high inflation, and said further rate hikes were possible
if inflation remained above target.

The decision leaves the bank’s major policy rate, the
one-week minimum auction repo rate, unchanged at 7.5 percent
after cumulative rate hikes of 200 basis points in March and
April linked to financial instability caused by the crisis in
Ukraine.

May 23, 2014

Russia launches fraud case against backers of Putin critic Navalny

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia opened a fraud case into funding of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s campaign for Moscow mayor last year, in what he said was an attempt to intimidate opposition candidates ahead of local city elections.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Friday that police were carrying out searches at addresses in Moscow linked to three men it described as “close acquaintances and fellow fighters” of Navalny, who is held under house arrest.

May 22, 2014

Special Report: How Putin’s associates botched state hospital project

PERM, Russia (Reuters) – At the foot of the Ural Mountains stands a symbol of how even the best intentions in Russia can enable well-connected individuals to bleed money from the state. It’s a modern hospital built in this industrial city of a million people, and intended to be a flagship of a grand project to improve the country’s healthcare.

The hospital’s chain-smoking director, Sergei Sukhanov, loves his new facility, the Federal Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery, which has beds for 167 patients. He also admires Russian President Vladimir Putin, who championed the hospital and whose letter of thanks to the surgeon adorns his office.

May 22, 2014

The connections behind Putin’s medical centers

By Jason Bush, Elizabeth Piper and Stephen Grey

(Reuters) – The two obscure companies that bungled Putin’s hospital-building project were part-owned by two of the president’s longtime associates, corporate records show.

One was Rosmodulstroi, set up to build and own a module factory. Nikolai Shamalov and Dmitry Gorelov, the Putin associates, each owned 10 percent of the business, according to the company’s founding documents. Russian businessman Sergei Kolesnikov also had a 10 percent stake, according to the documents.

May 22, 2014

Belarus leader says Ukraine must be united state

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has criticized separatist referendums in Ukraine and warned Russia not to take any more ex-Soviet territory after annexing Crimea, Russian media reported.

“Ukraine must be a united, whole state. Both the east and the west are Ukraine,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying in an interview late on Wednesday with Internet channel Dozhd.

May 21, 2014

The palace on the Black Sea

MOSCOW (Reuters) – In 2010, a St. Petersburg businessman called Sergei Kolesnikov published an open letter to Dmitry Medvedev, who was then president of Russia while Vladimir Putin held the post of prime minister. Among other things, Kolesnikov claimed that a luxurious estate was being built near the Black Sea for the benefit of Putin.

This extravagant Italianate mansion had a helicopter landing pad, summer theatre and underground tunnels. Located near Gelendzhik, close to the Black Sea coast, the mansion was quickly dubbed “Putin’s palace” and covered by Russian and international media. The Kremlin denied Putin had any connection to it.

Apr 29, 2014

Russian assets rise on sanctions relief

MOSCOW, April 29 (Reuters) – Russian asset prices rose on
Tuesday, reflecting investors’ relief that new Western sanctions
against Russia over Ukraine were less severe than many had
feared, but shares gave up some gains after further civil unrest
in eastern Ukraine.

At the close the rouble-denominated MICEX share index
was up 0.4 percent to 1,305 points, while the dollar-denominated
RTS had risen 1.2 percent to 1,153 points.