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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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For Business, A Joint Panel Could Help

In recent weeks, foreign firms have spoken up about the difficult and at times maddening business climate here. They have told a tale of lower-than-expected profits, of euphoria lost and of a resilient bureaucracy that won't go away. If these voices were newcomers, we would probably take little heed. But among the outspoken have been old hands at the Russian trade game: companies like PepsiCo and Siemens. When the head of Siemens in Moscow says he is cutting back his staff and, when the president of PepsiCo International says his grandchildren will be the first generation of Pepsi shareholders to see profit from the Russian market, it is time for not only the foreign community but for the Russian government to take heed. These are serious businessmen, who are serious about doing business in Russia. But changing laws and onerous taxes, soaring inflation and confusing customs regulations have combined to make Russia a hostile environment for even these stalwarts.

Kazakhstan Germans Want to Go Home, but Can't

ALMA-ATA, Kazakhstan - A great migration is underway in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. Ethnic Germans, who number over a million in this barren land, are heading home after decades of Soviet repression and centuries of tilling Russian soil. The only problem is that Germany, already beset by refugees from Eastern Europe, cannot take them. The German government is unsuccessfully doing all it can to convince Kazakhstan's Germans to stay behind. ""We are bringing teachers to teach German, to teach German culture"", says Peter Sonnenhol, cultural attache at the German Embassy in Kazakhstan's capital, Alma Ata. ""We want to make them feel at home away from home"". But, said Sonnenhol, the policy is not working. ""Most want to leave"", he said. ""They realize that Germany is not the land of milk and honey. Most are aware of the hardships of emigration. But they would rather suffer now for the sake of their children. ""They feel now is a window of opportunity. and most want to go through it before it's too late"".

Ruble's Rise A Matter Of Pluck and Bucks

In the past four months, the ruble has plummeted from 161. 7 to the dollar to a low of 450. But the ruble steadied for three consecutive trading sessions, and then in two trading days this week, it staged a dramatic recovery, jumping first to 417 on Tuesday and to 398 to the dollar on Thursday. This 12. 6 percent rise over the past week is hard to dismiss as a statistical blip since the trading volume on the two days was near record levels, a total of $108 million for the week. In fact, the Russian Central Bank's head of currency operations, Alexander Potyomkin, said Thursday that the bank had actually intervened to stop the dollar from falling further, buying about half the dollars sold in trade this week.
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