Sochi 2014 will be the most expensive Olympics in history, with the cost expected to top $50bn. But despite its huge budget, the winter event faces challenges, not least from the city’s sub-tropical climate and accusations of slave labour, as Charles Clover discovers.
Russia is famous for freezing winters but it appears to be losing its legendary ability to cope with the snow that blankets the country for at least five months in the year. An epic traffic jam that paralyzed traffic on a major highway between Moscow and St Petersburg for most of the weekend has drawn a stream of complaints from citizens and spurred the authorities to react. But with forecasters warning of more heavy snow ahead, officials will struggle to find a quick fix. Continue reading »
Investors should look before they leap into investing in Russia, according to a report in Monday’s FTfm, but it is very unlikely that many will do so.
On the face of it, huge strides that have been made in the last year or so will make Russia a more friendly place for overseas investors. Continue reading »
With Russian news often dominated by the woes of foreign investors like BP and Telenor, it is always nice to hear a positive story about the country’s investment climate. The announcement that Denmark’s AP Møller-Maersk is finally entering the Russian market fits the bill. Continue reading »
Russia’s super-rich have spawned a literary genre, the oligarch thriller. Even John Le Carre’s latest, Our Kind of Traitor, features a Russian millionaire called Dima with a diamond-encrusted watch. But reality is so much more entertaining than fiction.
The case of Boris Berezovsky v Roman Abramovich, which opened in London’s High Court this week, has the classic elements – political intrigues, protection money, mansions in the south of France, and yachts the length of football pitches. It is not, however, exactly what Russia’s investment image needed, just as prime minister Vladimir Putin is trying to reassure investors ahead of his return as president next year. Continue reading »
Here we go again: yet another conflict has broken out between Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group and a foreign partner. This time it’s Alfa subsidiary A1 versus US venture capital firm Indigo Partners – and the battle is over Russian airline Avianova.
On the surface, the story seems to have all the trappings of every Alfa conflict of yore. (Think BP vs Alfa-Access-Renova, or Telenor versus Alfa-subsidiary Altimo.) But what do these stories actually say about the Russian investment climate? Continue reading »