1, and a bill will be submitted to parliament shortly, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday. Novak also said Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) are expected to reach an agreement on gas supplies by the end of this year. President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Russia, the world’s biggest energy supplier, would press ahead with opening up LNG exports in a move to meet growing demand from Asia-Pacific markets. “The work as of today has been finalised … It has been coordinated and agreed by all the ministries of the cabinets, and in the near future it is going to be submitted to the State Duma, the parliament of the Russian Federation,” Novak told reporters in a briefing during the World Energy Congress, in South Korea. “We expect the law to take effect since the first of January next year.” Putin has said Russia is keen to expand in the region, where gas demand is driven by China, which expects to consume up to 230 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas by 2015. Removing restrictions on LNG exports would be a big blow to state-controlled Gazprom, which holds a monopoly on Russia’s gas exports. The prospect of an end to that monopoly has injected urgency into its talks to supply China with pipeline gas, which have gone on for more than a decade. Last month, the two sides reached agreement on basic terms for a deal but not on price, which has been an issue for years as China demands a steep discount to prices paid by Western utilities. Asked about a Gazprom deal to supply gas to China, Novak said: “We really expect Gazprom and CNPC to reach agreement by the end of this year.” Russian gas producer Novatek and top oil producer Rosneft have both lobbied for LNG export rights. Rosneft has agreed with ExxonMobil to build an LNG plant in the Russian Far East at an estimated cost of $15 billion.
RPT-Russia expects to liberalise LNG exports from Jan 1 -minister
Russian IT exports are approaching $5 billion this year, Deputy Minister Mark Shmulevich said in an interview in Moscow. Its a meaningful figure, compared with the countrys arms export of about $15 billion, he said. It shows that Russia has competitive IT products to offer. Russia plans to help its domestic IT companies compete with global technology companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) , which are expanding in the country, the strategy shows. Search engine Yandex NV (YNDX) and social-networks operator Mail.ru Group Ltd. (MAIL) already dominate the Russian market, beating foreign rivals. Russia has several Internet giants which are mid-sized companies on the global scale, while other market participants are much smaller, Shmulevich said. Thats why for a breakthrough technology startup its often easier to find investors abroad. We plan to change this. The Telecommunications Ministry will support joint projects by Russian scientific institutes and local IT companies to develop technologies such as speech and video-image recognition, robotics, cyber-security and cloud services, the strategy shows. We realize that IT is a global industry, and we dont plan to ban anything foreign, Shmulevich said. Instead, we plan to support domestic companies with state orders for R&D, loans and other market mechanisms to let them develop and gain international success. Besides publicly traded Yandex and Mail.ru, the Ministry names Kaspersky Lab, ABBYY , Dr.Web, 1C and Positive Technologies as examples of Russian IT companies which have gained recognition abroad. To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at email@example.com To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org
Russia: Court decides not to imprison Navalny
. KIROV, Russia (AP) A Russian court on Wednesday suspended a five-year prison sentence for a top opposition leader but upheld his conviction for theft that will prevent him from running in future elections. Alexei Navalny was convicted on embezzlement charges and sentenced to five years in prison on July 18, but was released the next day in what some considered a ploy to make the Moscow mayoral race, where he was registered as a candidate, look as competitive as possible. Navalny garnered an unexpected 27 percent of the vote against the Kremlin-backed incumbent. His growing public profile has made it increasingly risky for the Kremlin to put him behind bars. Regardless of his own inability to hold office, Navalny, a charismatic speaker with a popular blog, could still prove a vital political force in Russia. He has vowed to wage an active campaign, even if not a candidate himself, in elections for the Moscow city government in September 2014. His run for Moscow mayor attracted thousands of young volunteers in an unprecedented grassroots campaign effort, and that network could prove a key organizing force in the 2014 race. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, second right, his wife Yulia, and his former colleague Pyo On Wednesday, a judge in the court in Kirov, 760 kilometers (460 miles) east of Moscow, read out the decision. According to current Russian law, even a suspended sentence would eliminate Navalny from political office for life. Navalny lambasted the trial, saying the original sentence had been handed down “on instructions from Moscow” and that the “political motivation of this case is absolutely clear.” The charges against Navalny date back a few years to when he worked as an unpaid adviser to the provincial governor in Kirov.
Russia offered New Zealand fighter jets for butter: Book
The extraordinary offer was made by Russia to New Zealand in 1993, a new book has claimed. After the collapse of the Soviet Union , Russia was struggling to pay the $100 million it owed New Zealand for a range of imported dairy products, Guardian reported. In a meeting with Russian officials to chalk out payment terms, Jim Bolger, then New Zealand prime minister, was left “absolutely stunned” to be offered a nuclear submarine and two MiG fighter jets in lieu of money, according to Clive Lind, the author of the book, ” Till the Cows Came Home”. Lind, who interviewed Bolger and former New Zealand Dairy Board chairman Dryden Spring, who was also present at the meeting, said the offer had been made by Alexander Shokhin, then deputy prime minister of Russia. “The Russians were trying to come up with lines of credit before Shokhin mentioned there were other funding arrangements,” Lind was quoted by the daily as saying. “He pointed out that MiG jets were highly desirable and that they also had surplus tanks to offer. Jim Bolger had to explain that he wasn’t in the market for second-hand tanks,” Lind added. Perhaps most remarkably, Shokhin then offered a nuclear submarine to wipe out Russia’s debt. Noting that New Zealand was a staunchly non-nuclear-powered country, he suggested hooking the vessel up to the national grid and using it as a power plant for a coastal city, the report said. “Bolger recalled the reaction he would have got if he returned to a nuclear-free New Zealand and told people that he hadn’t got any money for them but had secured a nuclear submarine instead,” Lind said. “It simply wasn’t going to fly.” After politely declining the offer of the military equipment, New Zealand managed to secure a number of periodic payments from Russia, totalling about $30 million less than a third of the total debt.