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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

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Finance Ministry Postpones Wealth Fund Forex Purchases to Protect Ruble

The Finance Ministry said Tuesday it will postpone foreign currency purchases on the forex market to replenish one of its sovereign wealth funds while the ruble is weakening.

The ministry said last month it would transfer 207.6 billion rubles ($5.87 billion) of revenues to the Reserve Fund, one of the rainy-day funds in which the government saves windfall energy revenues, in a move seen as pressuring the ruble.

"When the Central Bank every day is taming volatility, we certainly will not harm the Central Bank," Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev told journalists.

The ruble's rate against the dollar-euro currency basket was set at 41.08 by the Central Bank for Wednesday, down 7.4 percent from Jan. 1. (Reuters)

Medvedev Mints New State Space Corporation

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a government directive Monday consolidating space industry assets under a single state-controlled corporation.

The new United Rocket and Space Corporation will take over manufacturing facilities from Roscosmos, the federal space agency whose prestige has been severely dented in recent years by a string of failed rocket launches.

"In line with the directive, the corporation will receive assets of 10 integrated structures that comprise 48 various organizations and 14 enterprises," Medvedev said at a meeting with deputy prime ministers.

The new corporation will be 100 percent controlled by the government, he said.

Russia's space sector has been plagued by complaints of inefficiency, lack of productivity and lack of oversight, following a string of rocket failures and satellite crashes over the last several years causing billions of rubles in losses. (RIA Novosti)

$300Bln Investment Shortfall may Delay High-Speed Moscow-Kazan Rail Line

The opening of a high-speed rail line between Moscow and Kazan could be delayed from 2018 to 2020 unless Russian Railways finds 300 billion rubles ($8.5 billion) that the state no longer seems willing to invest.

In November, a multi-billion dollar tender to design the railroad, which is expected to cost 1.06 trillion rubles in total, was delayed pending confirmation of Russian Railway's investment program for 2014.

However, an unidentified government official said that the program's forecasts about the project's impact on the economy were unconvincing and that it had poor prospects of attracting private investors, reported Monday.

A spokesman for Russian Railways said that they are more likely to find private investors if the state provides financial support. (MT)

Armenia Publishes Roadmap to Join Customs Union

Armenia on Monday published a roadmap for accession to the Russia-led Customs Union, which Yerevan has pledged to join as Moscow seeks to deepen economic ties across the former Soviet Union.

The document contains 150 different conditions that must be fulfilled before Armenia can join the economic alliance of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Armenian Economy Minister Vagram Avanesyan told a government meeting.

Moscow is currently pushing to expand its economic influence in former Soviet republics. Russian pressure has appeared to backfire in Ukraine, however, where large street protests erupted in November as Kiev backed off from economic integration with Europe and instead signed off on closer ties with Russia.

Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan announced in September that his country would join the Customs Union after a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. (RIA Novosti)

Russian-Designed Naval Training Facility to Open in India This Month

A training facility for naval pilots to practice aircraft carrier operations is set to open in India's coastal Goa region later this month, the head of the Russian company overseeing the project said Monday.

The site is based on a Russian facility under construction near the Black Sea town of Yeysk that was planned to open last year but has suffered undisclosed delays.

"The Indian NITKA facility will be officially operational in early February. The takeoff system is in place, and the Indian pilots are already flying there," Sergei Vlasov, head of the St. Petersburg-based Nevskoe Design Bureau said in an exclusive interview.

The facility will train Indian naval aviators who will later be stationed on India's first large aircraft carrier, the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya, delivered to the country last month. (RIA Novosti)

For the Record

Aeroflot Ups Passenger Numbers by 18.4% to 20.9M in 2013

State airline Aeroflot carried a record 20.9 million passengers in 2013, a year-on-year rise of 18.4 percent and well above the Russian industry-wide growth rate of 14.2 percent, the company said in a press release Tuesday. (MT)