Russia Classifies Publishing and Internet as Strategic Assets

07 March 2008

MOSCOW: The outgoing administration of Vladimir Putin is to extend legislation limiting overseas investment in certain Russian industries – among them publishing and the internet. And it is unlikely that incoming president Dmitry Medvedev will differ.

When enacted, the amended law will set tighter conditions for foreign investors wanting to acquire over 50% of any company designated as having "federal significance".

It will also impose new rules governing how permission for such deals must be sought. 

Additionally, says the Duma's Construction and Land Policy Committee, the new law will lay down exactly how a government-appointed commission must weigh and rule on acquisition applications. Details, however, are not yet forthcoming. 

Current legislation already bars foreigners from controlling a national TV channel. But the new bill also implies that in some circumstances "special approval" might be given to to foreign entities.

Present law already covers TV and radio; while the amended bill will extend to publishing and newspapers - the latter being deemed "strategic" if they dominate a specific market.

In future a foreigner seeking to acquire a stake higher than 50% in a strategic company will require permission from a commission headed by the nation's prime minister.

And the regulations will tighten further yet for any company partially or wholly owned by a foreign government. In these circumstances the bar will be set at 25%.

Data sourced from Moscow Times: additional content by WARC staff