Russia brushed off the threat of western energy sanctions on Friday and pledged to press ahead with plans to build a new gas export pipeline that would strengthen its hold on European gas markets.

Russia is continuing work on the 2,500km South Stream pipeline that will carry gas across the Black Sea to southern and central Europe, Alexander Novak, Russian energy minister told a press conference in Moscow on Friday. Continue reading »

Russia is rethinking investor friendly dividend reforms as the Ukrainian crisis weighs on its faltering economy. Rules introduced last year that would oblige state companies to put more of their profits in shareholders’ pockets may be shelved, according to a report out on Wednesday.

Russia has been pushing state companies to pay more generous dividends in an effort to improve the country’s investment image and boost interest in upcoming privatisations. Rules introduced in late 2012 setting a minimum 25 per cent pay out were a step in the right direction but, as often happens with Russian regulations, there was room for interpretation. Continue reading »

Russian lawmakers are debating measures to restrict the distribution of foreign films shown at domestic cinemas in a move that reflects growing anti-western sentiment. The threat of a new Cold War is giving Hollywood the shivers.

Robert Schlegel, a member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, has tabled a parliamentary bill that would place a 50 per cent cap on the share of foreign-made films distributed at Russian cinemas. Deputies are expected to debate the proposals in the next couple of weeks. Continue reading »

Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aviation has reached a preliminary agreement to supply up to 100 Superjet-100’s to China in what would be by far the biggest sale yet of its flagship regional passenger jet. Apart from swelling Sukhoi’s order books, a Chinese deal could help Russia circumvent possible western sanctions.

Sukhoi Civil Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to sell up to one hundred Superjet-100s to O’Bay Aircraft, a privately held airline based in Henan province in north China. As part of the deal, the two sides are considering a joint assembly venture to make SSJ-100’s in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. Continue reading »

A wave of patriotism is sweeping Russia following the annexation of Crimea. But will the euphoria last long enough to have Russians invest in the Black Sea peninsula and support the local economy by holidaying there? Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister, chaired a government meeting on Monday to discuss how to make Crimea a going concern.

It sounds like a daunting task. The Kremlin took a huge risk when it redrew the map of Ukraine last week and took possession of Crimea. Western powers have condemned the move as a land grab and are threatening Russia with painful sanctions and decades of international isolation. Continue reading »

As tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalate over Crimea, a new front has opened in the simmering chocolate war. Law enforcers in Lipetsk in southern Russia shut down the Roshen confectionery plant on Thursday, choking off the Ukrainian company’s access to the lucrative Russian candy market.

“Police arrived at the Lipetsk plant on Wednesday morning and took away the keys,” Alexander Zolotarev, press spokesman for Roshen CIS, said. “They sent all the workers home. The plant is closed.” Continue reading »

Russia is pushing ahead with a $4.9bn project to expand the East Siberian Pacific Ocean oil export pipeline as surging oil demand from China and other east Asian consumers attracts oil sales at the expense of Europe.

Transneft, Russia’s state pipeline monopoly, won government approval for its investment program on Tuesday clearing the way for Espo’s capacity to more than double by 2020. Continue reading »

Investors look to Dmitry Medvedev (left) to champion the cause for privatization. But Russia’s prime minister hardly sounded overly confident as he reviewed the government’s plans to sell off state assets on Monday.

“We have quite serious plans to raise around Rbs200bn ($5.7bn) from privatisations this year and I hope the plan will be fulfilled,” Medvedev told a government meeting. “We should not drag it out, but at the same time we should consider the economic circumstances in the world and in the country.” Continue reading »

Russian potash producer Uralkali has decided to invest in port infrastructure in Brazil in a move to bolster its position in the world’s fastest growing fertilizer market.

In a statement on Friday, Uralkali said it had acquired a 25 per cent of Equiplan Participaceos, the main shareholder in Terminais Portuarios da Ponta do Felix, a terminal in the city of Antonina on Brazil’s southern coast. Continue reading »

Auto sales in Russia dropped 5.5 per cent in 2013 in another sign that the consumer boom is over.

A total of 2.78m new passenger cars and light and commercial vehicles were sold in Russia last year, 5.5 per cent below the record level set in 2012, the Association of European Businesses, a business lobby group, said on Wednesday. Continue reading »

Gazprom boosted gas exports to Europe to record levels last year, as customers negotiated price discounts and competition from rival international gas producers fell away.

But the rebound in sales to Europe was not matched in the domestic market where Russia’s natural gas monopoly continued to lose ground to local independent gas producers. Continue reading »

Novatek has taken a final investment decision on the Yamal LNG project, paving the way for the launch of the pioneering liquefied natural gas venture in the Russian Arctic.

Legal amendments approved by the Russian parliament last month allowing rivals of Gazprom to export LNG are working wonders for Russia’s pushy independent gas producer. Continue reading »

Russia has picked a symbol for the rouble kitting out the five centuries old national currency with a contemporary new look to rival the US dollar ($), the British pound (£) and the Japanese yen (¥) . It’s time for traders to take the rouble more seriously.

Hit by hyperinflation in the chaotic early 1990s and then by repeated devaluations, Russia’s rouble has become associated with trouble since the Soviet Union collapsed. Continue reading »

Museum Nicholas Roerich, Moscow

Depositors who lost their savings when Russia’s Master Bank was closed down last week can at least hope for some compensation from government-backed insurers. But there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for the museum in Moscow that depends on Master Bank’s now discredited chairman for a living.

Boris Bulochnik has not been seen in public since the Russian central bank revoked Master Bank’s license last week citing “large scale suspicious operations” and a Rbs2bn balance sheet hole. Continue reading »

The battle between Russia and Belarus over potash assets that has roiled global fertiliser markets this year has not thrown Moscow-based Eurochem off track. The Russian agrochemicals group is expanding its international reach with a joint venture to produce fertilizers in China.

Eurochem announced plans on Thursday to enter a joint venture with Toronto-listed Migao Corporation, the China-based specialty potash fertilizer manufacturer, that will open the door to the highly prospective Chinese market for crop nutrients. Continue reading »