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Past Issue
February 2009

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


Josh Wilson, USRCCNE EditorWelcome!
From Josh Wilson, General Editor, USRCCNE

One of this month's most dramatic occurrences in the Russian economy was the rapid decline of the ruble. Hitting an historic low of 36 to the dollar, many expats living abroad (myself included) took advantage of the event to withdraw a month's rent at discount prices. The falling rate, combined with a still undervalued stock market, is also spurring some debate about whether now is the right time to re-invest in Russia. The majority of investors seem to be holding their cards for now and likely to continue doing so until the situation at home stabilizes.

Domestically, one of the greatest repercussions of a weak ruble may lie in rising food prices. Russia is heavily dependent on food imports – meaning that fluctuations in the ruble will soon likely mean rising prices for even basic foodstuffs (including meats and most fruits and vegetables). Keeping food on the table has a much greater effect on stress levels than rising costs for foreign cars, which have already triggered mass protests. On a positive note, the rising prices, weak ruble, and discontent may, we can hope, also create the impetus for the long-awaited investment this economic sector desperately needs.

This month, we take a small focus on Russian agriculture. We also have information on other sectors that may actually fare well in the crisis – such as offshore outsourcing and technology. As always, this newsletter is dependent on you. If you have an announcement or a news item to be included in our newsletter, or if you would like to subscribe to this free publication, please contact us.


USRCCNE & Members News and Events

USRCCNE Hey USRCCNE Board Members!
A new year often means new or changed histories, job titles, events and activities. Is your board membership info up-to-date? If not, just cut and paste it from that page, edit it, and email it to our editor. If you have a good headshot of yourself, we'd love to see more smiling faces on that page too. Happy New Year!   

15th Annual International Networking Evening & Business Forum
(February 11 - Boston) The evening will feature a global trade & economic outlook and an international resource center with more than 20 international trade associations and organizations representing over 3,000 New England companies.

Russia: From Legal Nihilism to Rule of Law
(February 26 - Philadelphia) Speakers include: William E. Butler, John Edward Fowler Distinguished Professor of Law, Penn State University Dickinson School of Law; William Browder, Chief Executive Officer, Hermitage Capital Management; and Jeremy B. Zucker, Partner, Hogan & Hartson.

Sixth Annual Global Technology Symposium
(March 25-27 - Palo Alto, CA) In partnership with the San Francisco Global Trade Council and the US Polish Trade Council, the event is expected to draw several hundred leaders in business, science, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and policy making from Central and Eastern Europe, BRIC countries, and the United States.

Russia Confirms Position as a Leading Outsourcer
In a recent research presented by Gartner at China Outsourcing Summit, Russia is listed among Top-30 world outsourcing destinations.

Auriga Speaks on Linux
The conference “Contemporary Information Technology and IT-education” is organized by the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics of Moscow State Lomonosov University, and supported by leading universities of the Russian Federation, research institutes of the Russian Academy of Science, as well as leading IT companies.


Articles & Resources

Foreigners legal status

Russia's Woes Spell Trouble for the U.S
Russia faces a particularly nasty version of the global recession (at a minimum), and perhaps an economic "perfect storm." Regardless of how bad its economy gets, two broad political trends, each carrying profound implications for Russia's foreign policy and U.S.-Russian relations, are bound to emerge.

Roads and Potatoes: Beyond Moscow City Limits
When people, especially foreigners, think of one-sixth of the world's land mass, they overwhelmingly tend to focus on Moscow, extrapolating the specifics of one of Europe's largest and most expensive metropolises on to the rest of the country. Or we brush away the regions with a series of glum stereotypes from the Western press. On the face of it, it turns out we really don't know Russia - its regions - nearly as well as we should

Russia Reduces Quotas On Foreign Workers
Russia's prime minister has signed a decree aimed at reducing quotas on the number of foreigners working in the country, a move he says will ease the worsening financial crisis. Moscow's powerful mayor has backed the initiative.

Russian Agriculture, Rural Social Issues
This issue of the Russian Analytical Digest addresses the economic and social condition of Russia's countryside, how it has changed since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and presents a survey on the material and psychological state of Russia's rural households.

Omsk Agrarian Wonder Plan Worth One Billion Dollars
By 2011, the company is to put into operation an animal-breeding complex for 100,000 cattle head, a fodder plant, poultry farm, meat processing factory, grain processing factory, and an ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) plant with the capacity of 150,000 tons of processed bioethanol a year.

Outsourcing Uptick May Be Ahead
During the last economic downturn after the dot-com implosion, an increasing number of organizations shifted IT work to outsourcing providers, many of them overseas.

Obzor: Russian Economic News in Review  
This time our monthly roundup of economy-related news stories is hosted on the site of USRCCNE member The School of Russian and Asian Studies.

Russian Corner: The Legal Status Of Foreign Individuals In Russia
The legal status of foreign individuals in Russia, as in any country, is regulated by national legislation. Most countries assume that any citizen traveling to another country, whether to sight-see or to open a business, is responsible for knowing and following the rules of the country to which they are traveling.

Just for Fun: The Drama of Russia
Faith Seim, after studying at for an academic year (1999-2000) at Moscow State University with the School of Russian and Asian Studies, applied to and was accepted to study film direction at the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). She eventually went on to work in the studios of RAMKO/Russian-American Movie Company, a Moscow-based film company specializing in producing films "for the international market" and in English.

As always, this newsletter is dependent on you. If you have an announcement or a news item to be included in our newsletter, or if you would like to subscribe to this free publication, please contact us.

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