21 May 2012

RUSSIA : 22 May UPDATE: Putin Keeps Key Ministers But Makes No Concessions To Opposition; Putin Pal Sechin Gets Rosneft Post; New Protest Fines May Surge To $48,000.


     For new President Vlad Putin...small changes...are the best changes.
     In a meeting broadcast on state TV...Putin reappointed loyalists as defense, foreign and finance ministers...and 1st Deputy PM Shuvalov...to PM Medvedev's cabinet.
     But Putin did remove 3 unpopular ministers: health, education and the interior.
     Yet a financial crisis may yet lie ahead...as energy dependent Russia will see deficits increase...if oil prices continue their slide.
    Still...Russia's GDP grew by 4.9% in Q1...nothing to sneer at...even if capital flight totaled $42 billion in just the past 4 months.
    Putin says he would like to see 6% GDP growth by 2015.

     TO READ: Brief Bios of  Some Key Players:

     NEW!!!  Putin pal and previous energy chief...Igor Sechin (foto)...was named head of Rosneft...Russia's biggest oil company...and shares pop 3.5%.
          AND!!! A new bill authored by Putin's party proposes mammoth protest fine increases...some 40 times the current level. 
      Maximum fines for organizers would surge from 50,000 rubles ($1,600)...to 1.5 million rubles ($48,000). 
     Ordinary protesters would face fines of 1 million rubles ($32,000). 
     But...the bill must be approved again...and will undergo revisions.