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News summary for November 14

November 15, 2012, 8:58 UTC+3

Main news of the day

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NOVO-OGARYOVO — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered to work out a new pension formula by July 2013.

"It should be finalized and adopted no later than the first half of the next year," he said during a conference over pension reform on Wednesday.

Vladimir Putin has suggested postponing, to 2014, the coming into effect of the new pension bill.

"I believe it is possible to adopt the bill proposed by the lawmakers, but its coming into effect should be postponed to January 1, 2014," he said during a conference over pension reform on Wednesday.

The head of state explained that the federal budget and the budgets of social funds had already been drawn for the period until 2014.

The citizens who joined the defined contribution pension system will be able to keep it after the pension reform, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated during a conference over pension reform on Wednesday.

The system has already begun to operate, for the citizens who receive high average incomes and voluntarily decided to join pension funds, both state-owned and private. I believe it will be right not to deprive them of the opportunity but keep this opportunity for them after January 1, 2014: those who wish to keep this system, may keep it; we should give them the right of choice," he explained.

Vladimir Putin ordered the government to decide by yearend on the mechanism to use Pension Fund savings.

"As for the use of savings, I expect the Finance Ministry and the government in general to make a decision on the issue," the head of state stated at a conference over perfecting the pension reform on Wednesday, "Offer your variants to use the so-called long money, the pension money, which will amount to some two trillion roubles by the end of the year.”

Putin noted that a legal basis and bylaws were essential for the issue of infrastructure bonds. It is the large infrastructure projects that are most effective and profitable investment.


MOSCOW — President Putin has signed a bill which amends a clause in a Bill on legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation and a clause in the Bill on education adopted by the State Duma on October 26, 2012 and approved by the Federation Council on October 31.

The amended bill aims to improve the legislation of the Russian Federation in part pertaining to labor of foreign citizens and persons without citizenship in the Russian Federation who are employed in the communal services, market trade or public amenities sector. The amended bill stipulates that the above-mentioned persons who arrived in the Russian Federation with no visa required shall have a compulsory certificate on passing a state Russian language test which conforms to the basic level required for issuance or extending a license for work in Russia issued to the above-mentioned citizens.


NOVO OGAREVO — President Vladimir Putin said he was pleased by the fact that relations between Russia and France continue to progress after the change of government in France.

“I am happy to recall the time when we worked together to solve acute serious problems concerning the development of relations between our countries, between Russia and Europe in all areas,” Putin said at a meeting with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday, November 14.


NOVO OGAREVO — President Vladimir Putin supported the transfer of the Supreme Court and its judicial department and of the Higher Arbitration Court to St. Petersburg.

At the same time, he stressed that no final decisions has been made so far and the issue is still under discussion.


NOVO OGAREVO — President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to discuss bilateral relations at their personal meeting and supported the idea of increasing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said on Wednesday, November 14.


HELSINKI — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised to put a stop to illegal trading in timber and suggested that business people should deal with diligent producers.

“Regrettably, illegal timber cutting is quite widespread in Russia, with the use of obsolete equipment, disregarding ecological norms. This state of things is absolutely unacceptable,” the premier told the Timber Forum.

Medvedev promised that the government would tackle these problems, noting that he meant “the legal base, refining the forest protection activities, and putting a stop to illegal timber trading.” “Proper ecological awareness will also be promoted,” he said.


NOVO-OGAREVO — Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) will have extra capitalisation worth 40 billion roubles, RF Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters. “By the second reading we are going to prepare amendments on extra capitalisation of the Agricultural Bank in the amount of 40 billion roubles,” he said. The minister explained that “this is made to support the Agricultural Bank in a difficult situation; the money will be used for increasing loans to the rural population and improving the bank’s balance.”


MOSCOW — New versions of the RF Criminal Code articles dealing with espionage and treason have entered into force in Russia. The amendments to the Criminal Code, adopted by both houses of Russia’s parliament and signed by the RF President are published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper on Wednesday.

The amendments clarify the treason notion. In particular, not only the activities in the interests of foreign intelligence services, but also in the interests of international organisations, if they are directly engaged in intelligence activities, can be regarded as treason.


NOVO-OGARYOVO — The Kremlin intends to monitor the implementation of the amendments to the Criminal Code on high treason and espionage, and is ready to make adjustments, if need be, the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, said in comments on the amendments to the penal code the head of state signed on Tuesday.


MOSCOW — Russia’s consumer prices continue growing in a week from November 7 to November 12 and edged up by 0.1 percent, the Federal State Statistics Service said in a regular report on Wednesday, adding that the indicator has grown by 5.9 percent since the beginning of the year and has increased by 0.2 since the beginning of the current month.


MOSCOW — The Russian government has approved regulations setting a formula for calculating fines for air pollution from the burning of casing-head gas.

Companies will be penalised for burning more than 5 percent of casing-head gas.

Economic losses from the burning of casing-head gas amount to 139.2 billion roubles a year, and investments in the majority of sectors, including oil and gas mining, do not cover casing-head gas processing needs.

Over the past 17 years, no gas processing plant has been commissioned in Russia, the minister said.


MOSCOW — Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the Tiksi airfield in northern Yakutia to keep its status of the civil and military aviation aerodrome, the Defense Ministry's press service told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"Despite the fact that the intensity of the use of the airfield by warplanes will not exceed 10 percent of its workload, it will continue to function both in the interests of the Defense Ministry and for the needs of civil aviation to meet the transportation demand of the region's population," the press service said.

"The remodeling of the Tiksi runway will be carried out in 2013," it added.


MOSCOW — Gazprom and BASF have signed a basic agreement on asset swap.

The legally binding document provides for major terms and conditions for the asset swap deal under the project for joint development of the Achimov deposits in the Urengoi oil, gas and condensate field. The final agreements are expected to be made in 2013.

According to the document, Wintershall may acquire 25 percent plus one share in the new joint venture on developing blocks 4A and 5A in the Achimov deposits of the Urengoi field.

In addition, the Agreement provides for Gazprom to receive a 50 percent stake in WINZ, which runs natural gas exploration and production projects in the North Sea, and increase its stakes in gas trading and storage companies of WINGAS Group to 100 per cent, as well as in WIEH and WIEE – to 100 percent.


MOSCOW — Russia’s gross grain harvest in the initial weight (before clearing and drying crops) exceeded 74 million tonnes as of November 13, the press service of the Russian Agriculture Ministry cited Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov as saying on Wednesday.

With taking into account the considerable farmlands with un-harvested maize crops, which are estimated at 13 percent, rice – eight percent, as well as insignificant territories under buckwheat, barley and wheat seedlings (one to two percent), the country’s gross harvest is projected at 71 million tonnes in the weight after clearing and drying, Fedorov said, stressing that this indicator corresponds to the initial forecasts of 71 million tonnes of grain for the current year.


MOSCOW — The federal budget surplus is preliminary estimated at 716.81 billion roubles (USD 1 = RUB 31.73), or 1.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the first ten months of the year, the Russian Finance Ministry said in a regular report published on Wednesday.

In October, the federal budget surplus amounted to 45.65 billion roubles, or 0.8 percent of the GDP. In the month under review, the federal budget revenues were at 1,070.04 billion roubles, while expenditures reached 1,024.39 billion roubles, the ministry’s report underlined.

In January-October 2012, as many as 10,455.40 billion roubles were transferred from various organisations to the federal budget, which made up 82.5 percent of the total amount of the federal budget revenues over the period, the Finance Ministry wrote in the document.


MOSCOW — The business circles of the Russian Federation and Georgia work on the matter of resuming the sale of Georgian wine in Russia, Andrei Denisov, the first Russian deputy foreign minister, told reporters on Wednesday.


KIEV — The Naftogaz Ukrainy company has fully paid for natural gas supplied by Russia’s gas giant Gazprom in October, Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Boiko told reporters before the government’s meeting on Wednesday.

In his words, the transaction was performed in due time. Ukraine delivered a payment worth 1.043 billion U.S. dollars.


CHISINAU — Moldovan-Russian economic cooperation is on the rise, Moldovan Prime Minister and Economic Minister Valeriu Lazar said in an interview with Itar-Tass on the eve of a meeting of the Russian-Moldovan Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation Commission due in Chisinau.

“The economic interaction between our countries is now on the rise. Last year’s mutual trade made up two billion U.S. dollars, which is far from the cap,” he said.

“Already in the first half of 2012, bilateral trade achieved the level of 1.3 billion U.S. dollars. We hope for further growth,” said Lazar, who also co-chairs the intergovernmental commission on behalf of Moldova.


CHISINAU — The Moldovan government has made a commitment to put the energy agreements signed with the European Union into operation gradually with taking into account interests of Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, Moldovan Prime Minister and Economic Minister Valeriu Lazar said in an interview with Itar-Tass on the eve of a meeting of the Russian-Moldovan Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation Commission due in Chisinau.


CHISINAU — Moldova is a neutral state and has no plans to join NATO, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Iurie Leanca said.

The statement followed remarks by former interim president of the republic and Liberal Party leader Mihai Ghimpu, who said recently that “Moldova can’t exist as a state without such an umbrella as North Atlantic Alliance”.

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