Russia 100723 Basic Political Developments



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Moscow press review for July 23, 2010


http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=178919
MOSCOW. July 23 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on July 23. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.

VEDOMOSTI



Government bureaucrats' fear of energy shortages has played into the hands of companies building electric power plants. Mikhail Abyzov's Group E4, the leader on the market, increased its order portfolio to a record 105 billion rubles in 2009. (Engineering Leader).

Britain's Petropavlovsk, working in Russia, has enlarged its resources in the first half of the year. The gold mining company reported that it had obtained licenses to develop three sectors in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, whose reserves and resources are estimated at 3.5 million ounces. All of the three sectors are near the major gold field Olimpiadninskoye of Polyus Gold field (RTS: PLZL). Another gain is the license to develop the Pioner sector near Petropavlovsk's field in the Amur region. But no geological prospecting has been carried out on it, a Petropavlovsk spokesman said, adding that no forecasts are available. The new fields will allow the company to enlarge its resources by 30% to 15.1 million ounces, according to Nikolai Sosnovsky, an analyst with Uralsib (RTS: USBN). (Harvesting Gold).

From now on companies will have the right to adjust licenses to develop fields of mineral resources, which will allow those of them that have faced a lack of demand for raw materials to reduce production, not fearing to lose the license. Amendments to the law on the subsoil mineral resources, giving companies the right to adjust the license agreements, have been posted on the website of the Natural Resources Ministry. (Demand Will Be Taken into Account).

Renova is likely to build a plant to manufacture training planes for the Air Force, a source close to the group said. The planes will be based on the PC-9 M and PC21 models, manufactured by the Swiss aircraft concern Pilatus. Individual components will be supplied by companies of the United Aircarft Corporation. The implementation of the project depends on whether orders will be secured from the Defense Ministry. (A Plane from Vekselberg).

KOMMERSANT



The structure of Surgutneftegaz (RTS: SNGS) ownership may become even more complicated. One of its subsidiaries - OOO Invest-Zashchita, which may control up to 45% of Surgutneftegaz shares - could get a new owner. As a result, control will be retained, but the oil companies will be immune to accusations of using cross ownership structures. (Page 9. Surgutneftegaz Departs from the Crossing).

Sberbank (RTS: SBER) is beginning independent work on the market of collective investment and plans to launch its own mutual investment funds at the end of the year. In experts' estimate, using its branches, Sberbank will manage to draw 0.5 billion - 1 billion rubles to its mutual investment funds, while in a couple of years market leaders will find it difficult to compete with its management companies. (Page 8, Sberbank Launching Mutual Investment Funds).

Forest fires spread on 7.3 thousand hectares more in Far East

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15341626&PageNum=0

23.07.2010, 10.43

KHABAROVSK, July 23 (Itar-Tass) -- The area of forest fires has increased by 7.3 thousand hectares in the Russian Far East for the past day. The forestry department said in emergency reports that 39 wildfires were registered on an area of 17.6 thousand hectares of forests and 20.3 thousand hectares of non-forest lands.

The fires are raging in Yakutia, the Magadan Region, Chukotka and Kamchatka. Heavy rains passed in other regions of the Far East and helped the forest defenders to put down all fire nests.

More than 500 people and 50 units of machinery were involved in the firefighting efforts, including 359 people from Yakutia. Slight rains are going in this republic, but dry thunderstorms trigger new taiga fires every day.

“Since the start of the fire-prone season in the Far Eastern Federal District 889 wildfires broke out. The fires burnt down 62,536 hectares of forests and more than 70,000 hectares of other lands,” the forestry department said. More than 2,000 hectares of forests were damaged in the national parks of the Amur River region, the Khabarovsk Territory and the Primorsky Territory as well as deer pastures in Chukotka.



National Economic Trends

Russia Lost 10 Million Hectares of Grain Plantings, Ekho Reports


http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=anOb.uhFDpIE

By Paul Abelsky

July 23 (Bloomberg) -- About 20 percent, or 10 million hectares (24.7 million acres) of Russia’s grain plantings were ruined by the worst drought in at least a decade, Ekho Moskvy reported, citing Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik.

Emergencies have been declared in 23 regions, Skrynnik told the Moscow-based radio station in an interview late yesterday, adding that there are no reasons for increases in bread prices because of government support measures.

About 9.6 million hectares of plantings were ruined as of July 15, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Abelsky in Moscow at pabelsky@bloomberg.net.



Last Updated: July 23, 2010 00:46 EDT

Russian government officials to discuss measures against drought


http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100723/159916359.html

04:29 23/07/2010

Russian government's interdepartmental working group headed by Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov will discuss on Friday measures to overcome consequences of the lasting drought in Russia, a source in the government said.

For the past four weeks temperatures across western Russia have topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), killing scores of people and creating what is thought to be the worst drought since 1972.

Many farmers are on the brink of bankruptcy, while a state of emergency has been declared in 23 Russian regions. Nearly 10 million hectares of crops have been destroyed by drought.

The group's session will include a videoconference with the heads of the regions that declared the state of emergency.

With a request of 40 billion rubles ($1.3 billion) in aid for stricken regions from the Russian Grain Union and an inevitable rise in food prices, the government has a tough job to do.

In March, in the wake of the much-criticized 2009 Copenhagen Summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for tougher environmental restrictions, ordering the government to act on the national climate doctrine approved during last year's summit.

MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti)

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