n.4 May 2005

Major successes, with high growth and considerable improvement in terms of country risk rating, evidenced by major rating agencies awarding Russia the status of “investment grade”. Nonetheless, certain inconsistencies in economic policy and the gradual deterioration of the operational context breed concerns for mid- to long-term development, jeopardizing the plan for economy diversification.

When talk turns to the need to internationalize Italian businesses, it is most often about “the Chinese fever” with opportunities in Eastern Europe and Russia considered less strategic. But the Russian market has the size, prospects for strong growth, unexplored market opportunities and geographical and cultural proximity to Italy and could provide interesting development opportunities for Italian companies.

The chess grandmaster is running, but Putin’s razing of the field has eliminated any alternative center of power. New political balances form and collapse within the same administration. The opposition would need independent mass media, autonomous courts, and sources of financing not conditioned by the President.

This is more than just a question about the Chechnyan problem and those in the southern republics. Relations are also tense with former allies in Central Europe, as shown by the events in Georgia and the Ukraine.When we turn to the Red Army, the lack of investments and training...