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Past Issue
July/August 2007

The USRCCNE Monthly Newsletter
For those with interests bridging the US and Russia...


USRCCNE Treasurer Renee StillingsWelcome!
From Renee Stillings, USRCCNE Treasurer

After a record time away from Russia (5 months), I am back from a June visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg fresh with a few observations. The first is the obvious, pointed out in the press, but worth making clear: Russia, particularly Moscow, has become very, very expensive. Our habit of viewing the rouble as not-serious currency causes us to not think much about spending them, but the moment you actually calculate their USD equivalent it is a bit of a shock. Restaurant dining is particularly painful as restaurants seek to fill their wine lists with bottles starting at $100. I would be very interested to see the statistics on sushi sales as it appears that so far, only McDonalds has abstained from adding sushi to their menu. In nearly all other restaurants it is apparently a requirement.

Related to the hike in prices, which is fueled (literally) by the economy, is the other problem we encounter as visitors: everyone is busy. It is an economy where you actually have to work now to reap the rewards! The result is that social engagements become a challenge to schedule - and reschedule. I had a record three engagements fall through on one day - literally everyone got pulled in another direction by urgent client needs. This just would not have happened even two or three years ago. And this was in June - the most glorious time of year to simply socialize late into the evening at an outdoor cafe. Makes me wonder what the business season this coming fall will bring.

And while we are on the subject of the upcoming business season, we welcome any announcements or news items to be included in our next newsletter. We would love to hear what is keeping you busy in the Russian market! Or if you would like to subscribe to this free newsletter, please contact us.

News Briefs

Russian Youth Hockey Seeks US Exchange Partner to help organize the logistics of the exhibition matches and provide home stays for the Russian kids.

A Russian player waving his national flag after winning the 21 & Under European Championships in Italy last year.News "Obzor" for May June presents a review of the news for the past month on a range of issues of concern to USRCCNE members.

More Obzori are available from the SRAS Newsletter (although they are now nearly one month old).

Russian Baseball Will Invade America this summer. They are also still searching for corporate sponsorships and people to help out with logistics.

Moneta Express Selects Cyphermint as Mobile Payment Technology Provider in a partnership set to make transferring funds between the US and the countries of the former Soviet Union easier.

Top Level Management Sought for Russian paper mill. USRCCNE usually doesn't publish this type of material for non-members, but we thought this deal looked interesting enough that we made an exception. The two positions open to "expats" are for a Technical Director and a Project Manager.

Upcoming Events

Krynica, Poland, Sept 5-8 - XVII Economic Forum has become a major regional economic event and a renowned platform of discussion on a wide array of issues such as economy, politics, international security and society. Being the largest conference of that kind in Central and Eastern Europe, year after year, it brings together heads of states, members of governments, experts, representatives of big business and social activists from renowned NGOs. By many called as Eastern European Davos, the Forum aims to develop dialogue and cooperation among European Union countries and their neighbors and partners. It is organised by the Institute for Eastern Studies.

The July/Aug USRCCNE NewsletterFeatured Articles: Prospects and Obstacles

The Stealthy Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 
What constitutes "bribery?" How is it different from "making grease payments?" For what "corrupt practices" performed abroad can companies and businessmen be prosecuted for in the US?

Resource: Finance and Financial Markets in the FSU
A new listing of sites with information about the stock markets, bond markets, venture capital institutions, and more!

Pipeline Politics: Achieving Energy Security
The U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe ("Helsinki Commission") held a hearing on June 25, 2007 to examine questions of energy supply and transit security in the OCSE region. Although Russia was not the central item of discussions, hearing participants, which included government representatives from the US and Europe, turned to Russia-related topics on a number of occasions.

Finance Committee Protests Russian Pirates
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) led 15 colleagues today in urging President Bush to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Russian government’s failure to sufficiently crack down on alarming levels of piracy of U.S. copyrighted property.

European Accession and Capacity Building Priorities
Almost 40% of the trade gains for the new EU members come from improvements in IT infrastructure. Find out more in this pdf from the Beyond Transition Newsletter.

Clusters of Entrepreneurship
It is becoming more competitive in Russia's regions, which is prompting and pushing Russian entrepreneurs to improve their performance and seek out new financial and strategic partners, which can help them to expand. Article brought to you by Kendrick White, of USRCCNE member Marchmont Capital and the Bisnis Bulletin Newsletter.

Vladimir Putin on Russia's Economy
At the much-heralded 11th annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin gave his influential views of where the Russian economy is and where it should be going.

Russia to Support Nanotech Research
This was announced at an official event with President Putin at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow. 

Bayterek Tower in Astana, Kazakhstan.More Articles of Interest

The Rediscovery of the "Russian World"
The president suggested creating the National Russian Language Foundation, which would "develop the Russian language at home, support Russian language study programs abroad and generally promote Russian language and literature around the world."

Astana: A Modern Wonder in Kazakhstan
After returning from my first business trip with a U.S. client to Kazakhstan in April, I was a bit surprised to find that even many veteran travelers to Kazakhstan had not been to the new capital of Astana, which is quickly becoming the economic, cultural, and scientific center for a growing oil and gas power.

Registration Headaches for Tourists to Russia
Russia’s new registration procedure, which was touted by officials as being a vast improvement over the previous system, is still causing a multitude of problems for tourists and tourism in Russia alike.

Russian Corner: 109 Signs of a Suspicious Company in the Opinion of the Tax Inspector
The Federal Tax Service circulated an internal document called "109 Signs of a Suspicious Company in the Opinion of the Tax Inspector." The Alinga Market Update, through its sources, has obtained a copy of this list and presents it here, in Russian, unabridged and in full. Forward this on to your accountants, lawyers, and auditors!

Just for Fun: "Russian in the Autumn"
Owen Murray started learning Russian late in life after meeting several Russian businessmen at a Rotary Club in California. He has since learned much of the language, traversed much of European Russia, and made a surprising number of friends, acquaintances, and good impressions on both sides of the Pacific through his genuine love for the people and culture.

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