Russian is the official language of the Russian Federation. In addition, it also one of the official languages of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is also spoken widely in Ukraine, and to varying extents in many of the former Soviet republics, particularly Moldova, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
Russian has the reputation of being a “difficult” language. What this really means is that it is quite different from English in many ways, some quite significant. A good knowledge of Russian will help in learning any other Slavic language, such as Czech or Polish, and the similarlties between the Slavic languages can make it possible to at least read certain things. Anyone knowing Russian, for example, will have no problem at all in knowing that the Czech sign “VYCHOD” is the exit!
A knowledge of Russian is essnential for conducting due diligence. The Moscow Metro has very nice signage, but it is all in Russian! Even though many professionals speak some English, most business and socializing is conducted in Russian, and this goes well beyond Moscow, into the majority of the former Soviet Republics.
Canada, Australia, and Kazakhstan are the world’s largest suppliers of uranium.
KazAtomProm is the Kazakh state owned nuclear holding company. In addition to its involvement in the production of uranium and plutonium, it also produces beryllium, tantalum, and niobium. It was established in 1997 and has its headquarters in Almaty.
KazAtomProm announced that Kazakhstan’s 2008 uranium production increased 28% in 2008 to 8521 tons, compared with 6637 tons in 2007.
Plans call for uranium production to reach 11,900 tons in 2009.
Kazakhstan plans to increase uranium output to approximately 18,000 tons by 2010, which would make it the world’s largest producer of uranium by 2015.
KazAtomProm has forged major strategic links with Russia, Japan and China, as well as taking a significant share in Westinghouse.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has stated he would like to revisit a natural gas deal with Russia later this year, sd the terms could exacerbate the deterioration of the Ukrainian economy.
Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister who signed the deal and Yushchenko’s political rival, made clear it will not be reconsidered.
The conflicting statements caused concern in European countries still suffering from the recent cutoff of their gas supplies.
Yushchenko’s economic adviser Olexandr Shlapak told the media that while the agreement will be honored, Ukraine may try to revise it this summer because the prices are still too high. He said Ukraine will propose changes to the contract after consulting European experts. Tymoshenko’s top aide, First Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Turchynov, dismissed the statements as irresponsible. He said the deal serves Ukraine’s national interests and the government will not allow it to be revised.
The CEO of Russia’s state-controlled gas monopoly, OAO Gazprom, Alexei Miller, said the deal would not be reconsidered.
The deal, which ended the politically charged dispute between the two neighbors and restored supplies to Europe and Ukraine, doubled the price Ukraine has to pay for Russian gas in the first quarter of 2009. Gas prices will be revised on a quarterly basis and are expected to fall sharply later this year.
The Ukrainian national currency, the hryvna, has lost more than 40 percent of its value since September, the banking sector has suffered a run on banks, and the economy is plunging into a painful recession.
Ukraine is relying on a $16.5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to avoid an all-out collapse. Yushchenko met Friday with IMF officials, who are evaluating the country’s progress on fulfilling the loan requirements before releasing a second tranche of the money.
Neither Gazprom nor Ukraine’s state gas company, Naftogaz, would comment on whether the published contract was authentic. The deal also stipulates that Naftogaz will have to make advance payments if it fails to pay its bill on time. If Ukraine fails to pay on time, it could lead to another gas dispute in which European countries are again held hostage.