* Russia will use the Soviet-era experience to improve its global image, according to a government plan targeting Russian expats and foreign youth. (Kommersant)
* Russian lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation that would allow the formation of the so-called neighborhood watch volunteer units in an effort to boost public security in the country. (Kommersant)
* The ruling United Russia party will attempt to improve its public image in 2013 by improving the “moral climate within its ranks” and taking a civilized and intelligent approach in its interaction with opponents and supporters. (Moscow News)
* Russian authorities have arrested the first Defense Ministry official in connection with highly-publicized financial fraud scandal within the military. A Moscow court has authorized the arrest of the head of the ministry’s facilities administration department Nikolai Ryabykh. (Kommersant)
* Russia’s former top representative at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Yelena Kotova, has been charged with seeking a bribe of $1.4 million. Kotova denies charges and claims she has become victim of political intrigues. (Kommersant, Vedomosti)
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
* Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov talks about the government’s economic agenda for 2013 in an exclusive interview.
* The Russian government and private companies have so far failed to break the monopoly of Gazprom and Rosneft on hydrocarbons exploration at the Russian shelf. (Vedomosti)
* Russian largest retailers are growing faster than their Western competitors. The third Russian retailer of electronics – M.Video - has joined the list of global leaders, according to Deloitte ranking. (Vedomosti)
* GM-AvtoVAZ joint venture is planning to triple production of Chevrolet Niva LE model in Russia to 200 cars per month in 2013. (Vedomosti)
* Japanese fast food chain Toridoll Corp. is opening its first restaurant in Moscow. If the project is successful, the company may open as many as 100 food outlets in Russia in the next five years. (Kommersant)
* The Russian Air Force has commissioned new X-38 short-range air-to-ground guided missile to arm the fifth-generation T-50 fighter jets as well as existing combat aircraft. According to Air Force sources, the missile’s guidance system uses Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation network – the rival of the US GPS. (Izvestia)
* Russia is planning to send the first female astronaut to space in the past 17 years as part of an international crew on board the International Space station. Yelena Serova will join the ISS crew in October 2014. (Rossiiskaya Gazeta)
* The Russian Space Agency is planning to launch a lunar probe from the new Vostochny space center in Russia’s Far East in 2015. The Luna-Glob will be the first of four missions planned before the creation of a fully robotic lunar base. (Rossiiskaya Gazeta)
* Lawmakers from Just Russia faction in the State Duma have proposed new legislation that would facilitate the adoption of Russian orphans by their relatives. (Kommersant)
* Moscow authorities deported 10,500 illegal migrant workers in 2012, almost twice as many as the year before. Each deportation procedure costs the city budget about 150,000 rubles (about $5,000). (Izvestia)
For more details on all the news in Russia today, visit our website at http://en.ria.ru.
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.