Thanks to energy prices, Russia has more than half a trillion dollars in reserves and US$44 billion in debts
The Duumvirate. I regard The Economist as a generally worthless commentator on Russia, useful only because it is a reliable guide to the "mean sea level" of conventional opinion. In its 6-12 October 2007 issue, it was confident "It has always been a question of how, not if, Vladimir Putin would retain power". Now it's not so sure: maybe Medvedev is in charge. Its latest piece (Johnson's Russia List/2008/130/6) finally understands that Putin could have amended the Constitution easily and run for a third term.
The point is not that The Economist has become any more thoughtful but that its change of mind is an indication that conventional opinion is coming around to the idea that maybe the whole thing wasn't, as the October 2007 headline read, "Vladimir Putin: The Never-Ending Presidency". Revisiting my five hypotheses, I am coming to think that the choice is now between Numbers 4 and 5: I never thought 1 and 2 very likely and 3 is certainly dead. For what it's worth, but presumably signalling new tactics if not a new strategy, there has been criticism of some of Putin's legacies appearing in the Russian press.
Continue reading "Russian Federation Situation Report
July 31, 2008" »
Jack Matlock served as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991
Ambassador Jack Matlock served as the point man for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in Moscow from 1987 to 1991, a period which saw the end of the Cold War. The Carnegie Council in Washington D.C. recently sat down with Ambassador Matlock to talk with him about the current state of U.S.-Russia relations. Ambassador Matlock's thoughts may surprise those who would claim that carrying forward the legacy of President Reagan means continued confrontation with the Russians in their back yard. Instead, Matlock points to the need for additional cooperation to tackle the consequences of global problems, including nuclear proliferation and climate change.
Click on the extended post to watch Ambassador Matlock's and other videos related to U.S.-Russia relations.
Continue reading "Jack Matlock, Reagan's Ambassador to the USSR
On U.S.-Russia Relations" »
Reuters has an interesting update on the subject of my Russia Blog post from last week (The Consequences of Growing U.S.-Russia Financial Ties That Bind).
As it turns out, the Russian Central Bank still owns $50 billion in U.S. government-backed agency securities, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but this is short term (less than one year) paper, and the central bank will let the paper reach maturity and presumably move on to another investment. Russian sovereign holdings of U.S. agency securities are still dwarfed by the $400-$500 billion held by Chinese central banks.
Click on the extended post to read an excerpt from the Reuters story.
Continue reading "Reuters: Russia Cuts Exposure to Fannie, Freddie" »
Download the PDF version of the report Hotel Industry in Russia
Is it a Mercedes dealership? No, just a parking lot by a new 5-star hotel in downtown Moscow...
(Photo by: Yuri Mamchur
The hotel industry is expected to become one of the most dynamic sectors in Russia,
for two major reasons:
- 1. Tourism to Russia is increasing at a very fast pace.
Russia currently receives up to 40 million tourists per year, (1) and this number is
anticipated to rise in both its domestic and foreign component. According to Moscow
City Government estimates, the current number of tourists visiting Moscow is around
2.9 million per year, and this is estimated to reach 5 million within the next decade.
By comparison, Berlin attracts 3.2 million, Vienna 2.8 million, and London 18
million. (2) Furthermore, by year 2020, Russia is expected to be among the 10 top most
visited countries in the world, attracting 3 percent of the world's tourist market. This
trend is confirmed by figures for the first quarter of this year (2007) when tourism has
increased by 20 percent. (3)
- 2. The industry is still modest in size compared to that of Western countries, and it has not developed homogeneously.
While in the '90s Moscow and a few other cities in Russia experienced tremendous growth in the upper tier of the hotel market, now this sector is close to saturation. The concentration in the expensive five-star hotel market limits the alternatives for tourists and business people, who usually look for lower prices while still expecting Western security and comfort standards. (4)
Continue reading "Market and Industry Report:
Russian Hotel and Hospitality Market" »
Tom Barnett - strategist, consultant, Green Bay Packers fan
Thomas P.M. Barnett is the New York Times bestselling author of The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the 21st Century and Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating. Barnett's forthcoming book, Great Powers: America and the World After Bush will be released on February 5, 2009. In addition to writing books, Barnett works as a speaker and consultant, presenting his ideas to audiences around the globe ranging from top U.S. military commanders to Chinese businessmen. Barnett's consultancy, Enterra Solutions, among many other projects, has worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to open an IT support center in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Barnett recently gave an interview to the editors of the KatPol blog, a website focused on global foreign policy issues published in Hungary. It seems that if anyone should be concerned about Russia using energy as a political weapon, it would be the Hungarians. Like many of its Central European neighbors, Hungary experienced 45 years of less-than-voluntary membership in the Soviet bloc and to this day (in spite of some promising natural gas finds in the country) depends on Russia for over 90% of its oil and gas.
Click on the extended post to read the Russia-related excerpts from this interview.
Continue reading "Thomas P.M. Barnett:
"Russia Is a Business Masquerading as a Government"" »
Dimitry Rogozin is a retired three-star general and nationalist politician
The last time Dimitry Rogozin appeared on Russia Blog over two years ago, he was starring in a television ad for his nationalist Rodina (Motherland) Party, in which he depicted Azerbaijani immigrants in Moscow as scruffy watermelon-eating hooligans. In this notorious video, Rogozin and an elderly man confront a group of migrants over their insulting a young Russian mother pushing a pram. As action movie music blares in the background, Rogozin and the elderly man place firm hands on the ruffians and demand , "Do you understand Russian?" A slogan then flashes across the screen which translates as, "We will sweep the garbage from our city". The ad was so blatantly racist that it actually got Rogozin banned from running for a seat in the Moscow City Duma in 2006.
After throwing Rodina's support behind Putin and United Russia, Rogozin has been given a new platform to air his strong nationalist views, this time as Russia's Ambassador to NATO. However, it would be difficult to characterize the remarks he made at a recent speech delivered at the Nixon Center in Washington D.C as extreme, pugnacious, or chauvinistic.
Click the extended post to read highlights from Ambassador Rogozin's speech in Washington D.C. on July 1, 2008.
Continue reading "Russia's Ambassador to NATO Speaks Out in D.C." »
American flags waved in Berlin at the Obama's rally - a display of rediscovered friendship; some 200,000 Berliners turned out for the speech.
"In this century -- in this city of all cities -- we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent." -- Barack Obama, Berlin, Germany
Some say that Senator Barack Obama has little international experience and will have problems building bridges with leaders of foreign nations. However, today, Obama hit the bullseye on issues relevant to the world's biggest oil producer, one of its top military powers, and, simply put, the largest country in the world - Russia. Some experts on the Republican side who are familiar with the matter say that Obama might have a strong advantage over his GOP rival, Senator John McCain, as many world leaders would be more open to dialogue with a young charismatic president, rather than an old and experienced "Cold Warrior."
While Russians and Europeans embrace Obama's rhetoric, it is unclear how American voters will react to the international course taken by the presidential candidate.
"John McCain cannot win, but Obama can lose," said Senator Slade Gorton today during his lecture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington.
Can Obama bring back the fondness for America in the world?
Watch the video of Senator Obama's Berlin speech, and visit the extended post to read the text of the American presidential candidate's speech in Berlin.
Continue reading "Obama in Berlin: Soothing to the Russian Ear" »
Rolex advertisement banner near Kremlin in Moscow
Download the PDF version of the report "Luxury Watch Market in Eastern Europe"
Summary of Contents
I. Overview of Global Luxury Market
A. Luxury Watch Market
II. Russian Market
A. Macro Environment
B. Luxury Goods
C. Luxury Watches
III. Ukrainian Market
A. Macro Environment
B. Luxury Goods
C. Luxury Watches
Continue reading "Market and Industry Report:
Russian and Ukrainian Watch Market" »
Russia's Central Bank does not hold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt - but what about the rest of its U.S.-mortgage backed debt holdings?
Over a year ago I wrote about Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert Kimmitt's trip to Moscow ("Is the U.S. Seeking Capital from Russia's Stabilization Fund?"). In June 2008 RosBusinessConsulting reported that Mr. Kimmitt was in Moscow to ask the Kremlin and Russia's Central Bank to invest more petrodollars in the U.S. Mr. Kimmitt gave RBC an interview, but provided few details about his discussion with Russian Central Bank officials, so the report was largely ignored by the Western media.
At that time, American media outlets were more focused on the prospect of Arab and Chinese sovereign wealth funds acquiring equity stakes in U.S. companies, and the potential political backlash to such moves. Russian companies such as Evraz and Severstal have proven to be saavy about their American acquisitions, (so far) flying under the radar screen of an increasingly unpopular and protectionist U.S. Congress, which clearly has much bigger fish to fry now than worrying about what the Russians are buying.
As we now know, most of the Russian money that was invested in America went into "safe" U.S. government-backed agency debt securities. After the collapse of IndyMac Bank in California on July 12, 2008, Russia's Central Bank denied that it held any Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac equity, and declared its billions in U.S. debt holdings to be safe. Today the New York Times is reporting ("Trouble at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Stirs Concern Abroad") that Russian buyers currently hold $75 billion worth of U.S. agency securities backed by pools of mortgages, farm credits, and other loans.
Continue reading "NYT: Russians Hold $75 Billion of U.S. Agency Securities The Consequences of Growing U.S-Russia Financial Ties That Bind" »
Some Notes on the Discussion of the Captive Nations Resolution at the
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation, July 15, 2008
In the not-too-distant past, it would have taken only a few sentences from a speech made last week by Philosophy Professor Andrei Zubov, who teaches at the Moscow Institute of International Relations (today the most prestigious school for Russia's future top level diplomats) for him to end up in a Gulag for at least five years or more. Especially considering that in his opening remarks, he was talking about horrific Soviet crimes against humanity while looking directly at Philip Bobkov, former head of the KGB's feared Fifth Directorate, which was tasked with fighting ideological subversion by dissidents and other "enemies of the state".
However, this time no one was arrested. Despite a few shouting matches between the roundtable participants at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, all of the proceedings ended peacefully with drinks and endless toasts afterward, as well as mingling between leading Russian and East European scholars, former political prisoners, the editors and authors of Kontinent (an anti-Soviet underground magazine that was funded by the CIA) and former Communist apparatchiks who were top ideologists for the regime in Soviet times.
Continue reading "The Captive Nations Resolution: 50 Years On
Remembering Russian Victims of Communism" »
By Henry Meyer and Sebastian Alison
Soviet-era Tupolev TU-160
July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet U.S. President George W. Bush next month after Russia warned it would respond militarily to U.S. plans to deploy a missile-defense system in eastern Europe. Putin will hold talks with Bush on the sidelines of the Olympic Games' opening ceremonies in Beijing, the Russian prime minister's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said today by telephone in Moscow. The Olympics will open on Aug. 8.
Russia may send military aircraft back to bases in Cuba in response to the U.S. missile-defense plans, Izvestiya reported today, citing an unidentified ``highly placed source.'' The government said on July 8 that it would react with ``military- technical'' means to the U.S. system, which it said threatens Russia's security. Russian leaders threatened to aim nuclear missiles at the planned bases in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Continue reading "Bloomberg:
Putin to Meet Bush in Beijing After Missile Warning" »
The July/August issue of Foreign Policy (a glossy bimonthly magazine published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C.) points out that Russian firms now own 10% of the U.S. steelmaking market.
Whereas many American analysts describe U.S. steelmaking as a sunset industry that cannot compete with cheap steel imports from China, Russian tycoons, who have experience modernizing outdated Soviet mills in Russia, perceive value. The weak dollar has made many U.S. companies cheap in comparison to their counterparts in the Euro zone, and many wealthy Russians are purchasing luxury properties in the U.S. for the same reason.
In addition to the dollar devaluation making American exports cheaper, in the past year skyrocketing world oil prices have tripled the cost of sending a standard shipping container from China to the U.S., reducing China's market share for steel in North America. Chinese manufacturers increasingly find themselves not only paying more to ship their low-margin goods abroad, but paying more for oil, iron ore, and other raw materials needed to produce these products, all while having their low-wage advantage undercut by competitors in Vietnam, India and other Asian countries.
Click on the extended post to read an excerpted article from Reuters.
Continue reading "Reuters: Russian Companies Now Own 10%
of U.S Steel Industry" »
The New Ford Focus...
...and the Chevrolet Lacetti are the most popular cars in Russia.
Russia has become Europe's largest automotive market after year on year sales grew 41 percent in the first six months of 2008, according to a survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), reported Moscow News. In this period, 1.65 million cars were bought in Russia compared to 1.63 million in Germany, which was previously Europe's largest market. The most popular cars in Russia are American Ford Focus and Chevrolet Lacetti. Gazeta.ru reports that according to the Association of European Businesses, in the first six months of 2008, Russians purchased 1,058,037 new foreign cars. General Motors had no explanation for such success with their Lacetti. "Probably, this model is what a Russian consumer needs at the moment," said a GM representative.
The demand for American vehicles inspired General Motors to open a new factory in Saint Petersburg. The factory will produce 45,000 Lacettis a year. However, even having a factory in Russia is not going to be enough to satisfy Russian demand for automobiles. Russian drivers bought 45,000 Lacettis in just six months. Ford Focus has been an all-time favorite for middle-class Russian drivers, and the new redesigned model added popularity and stronger sales for this model. 47,500 Focuses were sold in the first six months of 2008. Korean and Japanese cars are also very popular with Russian families. The newest version of the Mitsubishi Lancer takes 5th place on the "hit parade" of the bestselling cars in Russia. However, the Japanese also cannot catch up with Russian demand; 34,000 Lancers were sold in the first half of the year, but there remains a long waiting list for more Lancers.
Continue reading "Russia Becomes Europe's Largest Car Market; American Cars Lead Sales" »
Then Russian President (and current Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin
saluting young soldiers
Editor's note: In part two of his thesis, "The Misconception of Russian Authoritarianism", St. Petersburg State University graduate Kevin Cyron asks whether or not Russia is an authoritarian state, and answers in the negative. Mr. Cyron then explores the role of the Western media and lingering Cold War stereotypes in shaping global perceptions of modern Russia.
Click here to read Part 1 in Kevin Cyron's series on Russia and the West.
Click on the extended post to read Part 2 in the series.
Continue reading "The Misconception of Russian Authoritarianism:
Part 2 - The Problems of Media Bias
and Cold War Stereotypes" »
In February, Mr. Abramovich bought a five bedroom, 5,600-square-foot house in Snowmass Village, Colorado for $11.8 million. Two months later he spent $36.4 million on another property only a few miles away: a 14,300-square-foot, 11 bedroom ranch on 200 acres.
Russian oligarchs, pop stars, and rich people have bought properties all over Europe, pushing real estate prices in Prague and London to new heights. After a visit to Southern France in 2005, a friend of mine commented that, "Russian was the major language of the French Riviera." With wealthy Muscovites finding it easier to obtain visas these days, perhaps now the time has come for America to become a popular destination for Russian elites. Wealthy Russians have figured out that the U.S. has spectacular mountain and ocean views, fresh air, wide open spaces, which can be enjoyed for home prices far below those of comparable properties in the playgrounds of Europe or the Russian Riviera.
"Sergey Skaterschikov, a Moscow-based private-equity investor, is shopping for a house in Palo Alto, California, because his son will attend school in the area. With a budget of $3.5 million to $5 million, the five- and six-bedroom houses the 36-year-old Mr. Skaterschikov has looked at struck him as cheap compared with Moscow real estate, which he called "insane..." reports The Wall Street Journal.
Please visit the extended post to read the newspaper's report and see the photos.
Continue reading "WSJ: From Russia -- With Cash" »
Russian Automotive Market Overview
Download the PDF version of the report
The Audi Q7 became one of the most popular SUVs in Russia on the day of its introductory demonstration in Moscow in 2006.
The Russian market for 4x4 vehicle accessories and off-road equipment continues to develop at a rapid pace, as the growth of Russia's car market keeps expanding year over year. According to a recent study led by the German Car Industry Association, the Russian car market will be one of the fastest-growing vehicle markets in the world over the next ten years.(1) The enormous opportunities presented by the Russian market have already attracted most of the major auto-manufacturers there as they vie to establish a presence in a country where, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, sales of foreign car models increased by 100% over 2005.(2)
Nine straight years of consistently high GDP growth, along with political stability, high commodity prices, and a great influx of foreign direct investment, have transformed Russia into a modern and vibrant 9th biggest economy in the world.(3) Russia is already a bigger economic market than both India and Brazil, and is aiming to become one of the world's top five economies by 2020.(4)
Continue reading "Market and Industry Report: Russian SUV Market" »
To be published in Harvard International Review
Summer 2008 (volume 30, issue 2), pp. 14-18.
This year, young people are coming out in record numbers to support their political candidates, not just in the United States but in Russia as well.
Although the phenomenon has been relatively ignored by the western media, young people in Russia have become markedly more politically active during Vladimir Putin's second term in office, a striking change for a country where young people (ages 18-35) have traditionally been among the most politically apathetic segment of the population. In the 2000 elections, for example, Putin's support among pensioners was significantly higher than it was among young people. Recently, however, young Russians have begun to display new patterns of both political and economic behavior that have led pollsters to refer to them as the "Putin Generation." The importance of this generation is epitomized by the rise of Dmitry Medvedev who, at 42, will not only be Russia's youngest president, but also the youngest leader in the G8. Its values will pose a fundamentally new and different challenge to the West-- how to deal with an increasingly prosperous and self-confident Russia.
Continue reading "The Putin Generation:
How Will Its Rise Affect US-Russian Relations?" »
Can Russia be classified as a democracy - even an immature one?
Yes, says Kevin Cyron, an American graduate student in Russia
Editor's note: Kevin Cyron, an American living in the Russian Federation who recently graduated with a Masters degree in Sociology from St. Petersburg State University, has agreed to Russia Blog publishing his thesis titled, "The Misconception of Russian Authoritarianism".
Due to its length and detailed analysis, this extended essay will appear as a series of posts in the Articles and Essays section of Russia Blog.
Click on the extended post to begin reading this very timely and topical essay.
Continue reading "The Misconception of Russian Authoritarianism:
Part 1 - Defining Democracy in Russia" »
Editors - Even if this deal does not happen, the Russian company has two things for sure - global ambitions and cash. Please, read the Reuters story about this new business development:
The Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom wants to buy any available natural gas produced by Libya and some of the country's oil, the top Libyan oil official said on Wednesday. "Gazprom has expressed its willingness to buy Libyan oil and any available quantities of gas," the official, Shokri Ghanem, told Reuters, adding that it did not mean Gazprom would buy all of Libya's oil.
Gazprom's chief, Alexei B. Miller, met with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, after which the company said in a statement that it hoped to buy, at market prices, "all future volumes" of gas, oil and liquefied natural gas available for export. A cooperation agreement signed in 2006 between Gazprom, which supplies about a quarter of Europe's gas, and Algeria led to fears that Europe's biggest two suppliers could work together like the OPEC group of oil exporters.
Continue reading "Reuters Reports:
Gazprom Offers to Buy All of Libya's Gas" »
View the PDF version of the report Overview of the Fast Food Industry in Russia and Ukraine
Summary of contents
I. Ukrainian Market Overview
A. Macroeconomic Conditions in Ukraine
B. Ukrainian Retail Industry
C. Ukrainian Restaurant Industry
D. Ukrainian Fast Food Market
II. Russian Market Overview
A. Macroeconomic Conditions in Russia
B. Russian Retail Industry
C. Russian Restaurant Industry
D. Russian Fast Food Market
III. Conclusion and Opportunities
Continue reading "Market and Industry Report:
Russian and Ukrainian Fast Food Market" »
By Henry A. Kissinger
Presidents Bush and Putin meeting at the Russian resort of Sochi earlier this year
Last month Mr. Kissinger joined former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in addressing Renaissance Capital's 12th Annual Investor Conference in Moscow
President Bush's meeting with Dmitry Medvedev in Hokkaido yesterday provides an opportunity to review American relations with the new Russian leadership. Conventional wisdom treated Medvedev's inauguration as president of the Russian Federation as a continuation of President Vladimir Putin's two terms of Kremlin dominance and assertive foreign policy. But after recently visiting Moscow, where I met with leading political personalities as well as those in business and intellectual circles, I am convinced that this judgment is premature.
For one thing, the emerging power structure seems more complex than conventional wisdom holds. It was always doubtful why, if his primary objective was to retain power, Putin would choose the complicated and uncertain route of becoming prime minister; his popularity would have allowed him to amend the constitution and extend his presidency.
My impression is that a new phase of Russian politics is underway. The move of Putin's office from the Kremlin to the building housing the government could be symbolic. Medvedev has said that he means to chair the National Security Council and, as Russia's constitution provides, be the public face of foreign policy. The statement that the president designs foreign and security policy, and the prime minister implements it, has become the mantra of Russian officials. I encountered no Russian in or out of government who doubted that some kind of redistribution of power was taking place, although they were uncertain of its outcome.
Continue reading "Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger:
Finding Common Ground with Russia" »
Russia Blog's editors wish our American readers around the world a Happy Independence Day!
A Special Invitation to Russia Blog readers in Moscow!
The American Chamber of Commerce in Russia (AmCham) and the Coca-Cola Company are sponsoring an Independence Day celebration at the historic Kuskovo Estate tomorrow, July 5, 2008. This event will feature live music, spectacular fireworks, a huge cake from the Moscow Radisson SAS hotel, raffle prizes and games for children.
Getting to the Party
A free shuttle bus will take guests to and from the Ryazansky Prospekt metro station on the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya_Line (purple) line beginning at 3 p.m. and running until midnight on Saturday, July 5. The bus will pick up and drop off passengers just past the city bus stop. (Exit the metro toward the last car of the train as it travels from the center.)
IMPORTANT - Purchasing Tickets at the Gate
For those who did not purchase a ticket in advance, tickets are just $17 (400 rubles) at the gate for adults entering from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Kids under the age of 12 get in free. After 7 p.m. only advance ticket holders will be admitted to the grounds.
Click on the extended post to watch a video clip with American patriotic music
Continue reading "Happy 4th of July America!" »
Graft remains a serious problem in the Russian Federation
Corruption et al. Medvedev mused that some provision should be made for transferring assets held by civil servants into trusts and said a first draft of a national plan for combating corruption has appeared. A presidential aide suggested that "independent directors" might replace state officials in some state-owned companies. Of course if that turns out to be a way of letting former members of Putin's administration keep these lucrative positions... I can understand why you would want to place government officials in these important companies (remember Gazprom under Yeltsin?) but the problem then becomes: where do their interests now lie?
Balance in government. A Levada poll shows a probably important change in political reality. For years opinion polls have ranked the president distinctly higher than the PM or government. This was so even in the Yeltsin era (although all at very low levels in the latter years). What this poll shows is that Putin's presence has pulled the government rating up: in the 40s through most of his presidency, it is now in the 60s. At the same time his public approval rating remains in the 80s and Medvedev's is in the 70s. If this trend holds -- and why shouldn't it? -- Russia's political structure will be much better balanced than it has been. Further evidence, to my mind, of my fifth hypothesis.
Continue reading "Russian Federation Situation Report
July 3, 2008" »
President Bush (right) at the White House with Arizona Senator John McCain
According to the latest national polls, Barack Obama is topping the charts six to eight points ahead of his Republican rival John McCain. It is still a long way to the November election and things may easily change, but as matters stand now voters clearly favor the Democratic hopeful. The reasons are many, but several recent rows provoked by McCain's top aides certainly played some role.
For a start America's largest aviation company Boeing lost a hefty contract worth $35 billion to its European rival Airbus for supplying the U.S. Air Force with 179 aerial tankers. It turns out that the team of Airbus lobbyists included several of McCain's key advisors, like Tom Loeffler and Susan Nelson of The Loeffler Group, as well as John Green of Ogilvy Government Relations. Loeffler, a former congressman from Texas, headed the finance committee in the McCain election staff while Green acted as a Congressional liaison. Incidentally, Loeffler has been making some additional money on the side, lobbying for Saudi Arabia, too. Some observers believe that behind-the-scenes activities of McCain himself, who wrote several letters to the Pentagon, helped Airbus win the contract.
Continue reading "McCain Aides Are Pulling Him Under" »
View the PDF version of the report New Business Opportunities for Prefabricated Housing in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan
The housing market in the United States continues to cool and demand for pre-fabricated housing and housing components is slowing down. However, the markets for pre-fabricated housing in Eastern Europe, and particularly in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan present considerable expansion opportunities for U.S. manufacturers. Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, with a combined population of 200 million, represent a major untapped market for pre-fabricated housing manufacturers. Existing housing stocks are aging and need replacement, while demand for new housing is steeply trending upward in step with rapid economic growth.
Rapid economic growth in these countries means that salaries have risen considerably since 2000 with many people now seeking to purchase their own homes. However, the very slow process of constructing high rise multi-family housing combined with the desire to live in a single family home is driving the enormous interest in cost efficient pre-fabricated housing. Competition in the pre-fabricated housing market in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan is currently very low, making it the ideal time for U.S. manufacturers to establish manufacturing facilities and secure a significant portion of the market share.
Continue reading "Market and Industry Report:
CIS Housing Market" »
Aginsky Consulting Group is an internationally recognized, boutique consulting company, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, focused on providing a range of management consulting services to mid-size and Global 2000 companies worldwide. The company produces highly interesting reports on the conditions of different areas of the Russian market. The market and industry overviews cover many subjects, from cosmetics and wines to SUVs and luxury goods. Russia Blog is pleased to introduce our readers to the publications from Aginsky Consulting Group; the reports will appear weekly on Tuesdays. The entire list of the reports will be available via the Business section of the Russia Blog, or via searching in the upper left hand box on the main blog page for "Aginsky Consulting Group."
Given the current conditions of the housing market in the U.S., we'll start the new weekly column, brought to us by Alexander Aginsky, the company's Managing Director, with the report that explores business opportunities for housing in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.