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Past Issue
December, 2012

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

USRCCNE Welcome!
From Josh Wilson, General Editor, USRCCNE

This month has been a big one for news stories of interest to those with business interests in Russia. Therefore, our newsletter this month is a bit longer than usual, and we've broken our usual articles section into three major categories.

The first category looks at PNTR, the Magnitsky Act, and other issues surrounding the US-Russia investment climate. President Obama signed the related legislation granting Russia PNTR on December 14. He also signed The Magnitsky Act, which requires the US to sanction Russians deemed guilty of human rights abuses. Potential Russian retaliation may encompass business, NGO, adoptions, and other spheres. Furthermore, while President Obama has pledged to visit Russia, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged to work actively against Russia in its efforts to form a Eurasian Union, saying the Union is an effort to "re-Sovietize" the continent. The US is also, with new fracking technologies, moving towards becoming a major LNG exporter and competing with Russia in the coveted European markets. Soured, more competitive relations can sour business investments if they result in government actions that make doing business more difficult. However, soured relations can also create only the perception of increased political risk if bite is not added to the bark in diplomacy. This can reduce the number of competitors looking to invest and thus potentially increase returns. Developments in relations, thus, should be watched in careful detail by international investors.

Our second category looks at specific business sectors in Russia – from agriculture to automotive – and at government actions affecting the business climate in Eurasia. The third category looks at other issues from demographics to cultural issues. Of course, we also still have information on upcoming events, member news, and travel news.  

Ñ íîâûì ãîäîì! USRCCNE wishes you happiness, health, and success in the coming New Year! Keep following us for regular updates in 2013 and consider becoming a member to gain full benefit from all our organization's activities!

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.

Don't Miss This Month!

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.


Upcoming Events

Alinga sponsored an AEB Open Event on "Managing Finances in Crisis Times" 

Language Connections Medical Interpreting Training
(January 9 - February 23, 2013 - Cambridge, MA) Language Connections offers a six-week 60-hour medical interpreter training program in Boston developed by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation to enable participants to become competent medical interpreters. The program is offered in: Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Mandarin Chinese. Among the greatest number of applicants currently enrolled in the fall session are Russian medical interpreters. We are now accepting applications for our winter session which runs from January 9, 2013 through February 23, 2013. Register by December 22nd, 2012!

17th European Career Fair at MIT
(February 23-25, 2013 - Cambridge, MA) MIT European Club organizes the annual European Career Fair (ECF), the largest recruiting event in the US that focuses on career opportunities in Europe.


USRCCNE and Member News

Language Connections Interprets for Harvard University
Language Connections provides expert interpreting services for many of the major academic centers here in the Boston area.  

International Conference on Solid-Phase Technology and Innovation Management Held in Russia
Through CRDF Global support, the IV International Scientific Youth Conference on Innovation Management for Modern Solid-phase Technologies was held 24-26 October 2012 in Tambov. The event united young researchers from more than 20 universities in Russia and CIS countries.

Alinga Sponsors AEB Open Event: Managing Finances in Crisis Times
On December 4, 2012 the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Committee of The Association of European Businesses in Russia held an open event called "Managing Finances in Crisis Times.” Alinga Consulting Group, an international consultancy specializing in due diligence, audit and accounting, was the platinum sponsor of the event.

Alinga Hosts Seminar: Foreign Companies in Russia: Issues for 2012-2013
On November 8, 2012, Alinga Consulting organized a workshop to discuss issues which foreign businesses operating in Russia should take into account in 2012-2013.

SRAS Publishes Catalogue of Student Art
Students on SRAS’s 2012 Art and Museums in Russia program banded together as a collective to make a catalogue of their accomplishments and experiences while abroad.

Travel News!

Study Abroad
in Russia!


Electronic Border Guards to Appear in Moscow Airports
According to Kommersant and the press secretary for Domodedovo Airport, Moscow's airports will be outfitted with an automated system of passport control. Passengers will operate the terminals themselves upon entering Russia.

Google Maps Updated with 45 Russian Cities
Google maps has finally updated itself with about 45 Russian cities that it has previously not included. Among them: Irkutsk and Vladivostok.

Armenia, EU to Sign Visa Agreement Next Week
Armenia and the EU will sign an agreement on the simplification of visa regime in the coming days, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told reporters in Yerevan on Saturday.

Russian PM for Visa-free Travel with Finland
Russia and Finland should introduce a visa-free regime. This opinion was expressed by Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in an interview with the Finnish media.

South Korea Ready for Visa-Free Travel With Russia
South Korea hopes that new rules allowing visa-free travel with Russia will come into force on Jan. 1, a South Korean diplomat said Tuesday.

Mexico Negotiating Visa-free Travel with Russia
Mexico is the most popular exotic destination of Russian tourists booking their trips for the upcoming New Year holidays.

Russia Threatens EU With 'Retaliation' if No Visa Deal by 2014
Anvar Azimov, the Foreign Ministry's point man on visa negotiations with the EU, said Tuesday that Moscow wants to see a breakthrough by the end of 2013.

Russian Hotel-trains Coming to Europe
According to the official, Europeans using such trains will be able to travel in compartment coaches at night, which will prove cheaper and more comfortable than travelling by the currently popular high-speed trains.

Lotte Hotel Moscow Voted Best Hotel in Russia by Conde Nast Readers
Lotte Hotel Moscow was opened in September 2010 and has already become a leader of Russia’s hotel industry and has received a number of hotel awards.

SVO Raises Accessibility
Sheremetyevo Airport has opened Sirius Lounge, the only lounge of its kind in Russia with an international comfort level for passengers with reduced mobility, in SVO Terminal Å.

Aeroexpress DME - Paveletsky Schedual Change
The timetable for Aeroexpress “Domodedovo - Paveletsky Railway Station” has changed.


PNTR and US-Russia Relations

Clinton Fears Efforts to "Re-Sovietize"
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Thursday about a new effort by oppressive governments to "re-Sovietize" much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, taking particular aim at Russia for its crackdown on democracy and human rights groups just hours ahead of critical talks with that country's foreign minister.

Will Magnitsky Start a Trade War?
Russia effectively bans the import of some U.S. meat products. Market players and industry experts relate this stance to the Magnitsky Act.

Obama Agrees to Visit Russia
US President Barack Obama is likely to visit Russia in the first half of 2013 despite a "mini-crisis" in relations over US moves to punish Russians accused of rights abuses, a Kremlin aide said on Tuesday.

Moscow Reopens a Communication Channel with Washington
Frosty relations with Russia begin to thaw after Obama’s re-election.

The Magnitsky Act is Wrong
This Magnitsky Act's blacklist is a symbolic judgment of guilt — not only of the accused officials but of Russia itself.

The Magnitsky Bill: The Sources of America’s Obsession with Russia
Given the precarious state of the US economy, the turmoil in the Middle East, the persistent menace of terrorism and the relentless rise of China, it seems odd that Congress was able to find the time to pass legislation which is focused on the internal affairs of Russia and, which, moreover, risks further destabilizing the international system.

Russian Assembly Set for Tough Response to US rights bill
Russia's foreign minister urged parliament on Sunday to agree a tough response to a US law punishing Russian human rights violators, increasing the risk of a chill in relations with Washington.

39% of Russians Approve of Magnitsky Act – Poll
More than twice the number of Russians approve of recent US legislation imposing sanctions on Russian officials deemed to have violated human rights than disapprove, according to a nationwide poll released this week by the respected Levada Center.

NGOs Targeted in Planned Retaliation to Magnitsky bill
A group of State Duma deputies proposed closing down Russian NGOs for employing US citizens or receiving funding from the United States, shortly after a US adoption ban passed in the first reading.

Will Russia Stop the Next START?
Russia may withdraw from the New Start (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) it signed with the United States in Prague two years ago.

New Tax Break to Encourage Shale Oil Boom in Russia
Having watched the success of the US shale boom Russia is keen to re-enter the field; although this time they will be looking to imitate rather than compete against.

US Senate Seeks to Speed US LNG Export to Europe
The US seeks to lift limitations on its LNG deliveries to Europe and strengthen competition in European energy markets. It’s to break the EU’s dependence on Russian gas, as “the Russians overplayed their hand,” says US Senator Richard G. Lugar.

Is Russia The World's Largest Oil Producer? It All Depends On Whom You Ask
It seems possible to make a perfectly plausible case either way.

Russians Back Down from Leaked UN Internet Proposal
Following the disclosure by CNET of a secret proposal to transfer Internet governance to the UN, the Russian Federation has revised its plan, toning down the language but not the thrust of the document.


Business & Business Climate

Diversifying Russia
Russia, the largest economy where the EBRD operates, faces a very specific and difficult challenge – the task of diversifying its economy, ending its heavy reliance on exports of oil, gas and other minerals. This publication looks in detail at policies that can help to achieve economic diversification.

World Bank: Russia is World's the Most Improved Tax Regime
The report attributes this success to simpler VAT filing procedures and greater use of accounting software and electronic services.

Russian Corner: Field Audits in Russia - Planning, Procedures, and Results
Having changed the strategy of field audits, The Russian Federal Tax Service (FTS) began operations for prevention of tax abuse and motivating tax payers to voluntarily abandonment of tax minimization schemes. Subscribe to the Alinga Market Update

Russian Analytical Digest: Legislation and Governance
This edition examines recent developments in Russia and their impact on issues of governance.

Putin: Russia Must Abandon Presumption of Guilt
Russian President Vladimir Putin said it is necessary to abandon the presumption of guilt and accusatory bias in law enforcement and in court proceedings.

Georgian Wine and "Borjomi" Mineral Water to Return to Russia in 2013
For the first time since 2006 Georgian wines and other popular drinks will be returning to Russian customers.

Is Europe's Last Dictator Planning A Return To Serfdom?
Promises of higher wages and more attractive working conditions aren't doing the trick as workers continue to seek more lucrative employment in neighboring Russia. So President Alyaksandr Lukashenko has come up with a different idea: forced labor.

Russia Cuts Quota for Expat Middle Management
The Russian Labor Ministry has cut the numbers for expat managerial and engineering staff for 2013, according to the ministry’s website.

Russia's Farmland: Cheapest in World
Due to low demand, Russian farmland is 5-6 times cheaper than in Europe or the United States. At the same time, it has significant potential to grow in value.

Russia: No Tax Rises for 6 Years?
Russia plans no changes in taxation apart from tax cuts during Putin’s presidency, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has said. However, experts warn the promise could be difficult to keep.

Hamleys Toy Store Eyeing Detsky Mir
The legendary British Hamleys toy empire is looking to expand in Russia and is eyeing the renowned Detsky Mir building following its reconstruction.

Marchmont: Tver’s Ingenious Team Nurtures "E-manager"
The Forecast NOW! software has been designed for small and medium-sized businesses and offers retail and wholesale companies a sophisticated solution for market demand projections and inventory optimization. Subscribe to Marchmont News Service

Ford Sollers Deals with Labor Dispute in Russia
Workers announced a work-to-rule and decided to have a Donor Day on Nov. 16, but management halted the production line ‒ allegedly due to a lack of parts.


Culture & Other

The Pros & Cons of Google Translate
If Google Translate poses a problem in education, how much more of a problem is it for professionals working across languages and cultures? Subscribe to the LanguageConnections Newsletter

A Hunger for Tales of Life in the American Cul-de-Sac
After 20 years of opining on weighty bilateral issues like NATO expansion and ballistic missile defense, the political analyst Nikolai V. Zlobin recently found himself trying to explain, for an uncomprehending Russian readership, the American phenomenon of the teenage baby sitter. 

Death by Mass Privatisation
As many as one million working-age men died due to the economic shock of mass privatisation policies followed by post-communist countries in the 1990s, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

Are Russians An Unsmiling Nation?
People in the West often wonder why Russians smile so rarely.

Russian Holidays
Our list of Russian holidays and their history, updated with new dates, information, and official days off for 2013.

What Americans Don't Know About the World
The non-profit organization World Savvy recently released new research on what American graduates know about the world. It reveals a troubling gap between important world events and trends, and what a rising generation does not know.

The World's Most Powerful People
There are 7.1 billion people on the planet. These are the 71 who matter: #1 - Obama; #2 - Merkel; #3 - Putin...

2010 Census Results
2010 Census shows fewer Russians, more non-Russians, and many who no longer declare an ethnic identity at all.

Are Russia's Demographic Improvements A "Myth?"
The truth is that Russian demography doesn’t really offer any pithy takeaways or snazzy one-liners. Rather, it’s something that, because of its importance and because of the huge number of variables affecting it, ought to be constantly monitored and re-evaluated.

Six Russians named Top Global Thinkers
Environmentalist Evgeniya Chirikova and punk protesters Pussy Riot join Hillary Clinton in Foreign Policy's prestigious list for 2012.

Saint-Petersburg Opposition Opens a Bar
5% from every check in the Svoboda (Freedom) bar go to help political prisoners.

Yo: In Russia, Two Dots Can Mean a Lot
One can understand love for one's country and language. But a letter?

Just for Fun: Winter Clothes
How does one survive the infamous Russian winter? Our latest mini-lesson outlines Russian secrets to staying warm! Subscribe to the SRAS Newsletter

Molotovs-Magic-Lantern Molotov's Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History blockbuster-history Blockbuster History
in the New Russia: Movies, Memory, and Patriotism

Crosscover-small A People Passing Rude: British Responses to
Russian Culture


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Members of the USRCCNE become a part of a vibrant network of individuals and firms dedicated to furthering business opportunities between the U.S. and Russia. We work with business organizations in the US, (specializing in the New England region) and in Russia to bring exposure to the USRCCNE, and ultimately, to our members. Join today!

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