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21 сентября 2011, 15:50

An audit

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(Русская версия статьи)

I’ve been writing my blog for over a year now and decided to write something for my English speaking friends, for a change.

We live in a very turbulent time and at an historicmoment. This rollercoaster ride period of our lives got a little too wild and actually scary for my liking, but I try to focus on the few positive subtle surprises along the way.

Lately it feels like if no boundaries existed – everything is possible. Let me recap the latest news for you. This Prohorov story is unreal. How could had this fun mess happened in this rigid and tightly controlled political environment? What I found rather interesting and positive is how neatly (and civilized) this political dramaplayed out. Congratulations to Russia’s beach soccer team overtaking Brazil in the world cup finals last week!Russian movie in a top spot at a glamorous film festival – a small miracle? Again,fairly civilized* by my standards, real-prime/night-time fist fight between twoRussian “businessmen” – lively and honest performance. North Stream is on, and Strauss Khan is out – good!Also in the news: first ever top-manager from Russia appointed a senior VP at a leading multinational, and one of the most gifted Russian top-managers appointed head of a prominent local retail association. Let’s back track: civilized Polonsky, trustworthy charismatic Prohorov, world champion Russian soccer team, acclaimed local production, North Stream flawless completion – change is in the air? In my opinion, relative to crazy Europeans and confused Americans, Russia has a fair chance to withstand yet another economic crisis. Could Russia at the end be the last standing bastion?

On the financial side of things, I’d recommend opening carry trades: borrow in USD, buy Russian debt, and otherwise betting against the basket, if RUB/USD reaches 32.0 and as long as fed and ecb continue to print money. While there are many risks for FDI and portfolio investments in Russia, risk is at its historic highs across all markets. There is no free lunch and no risk free investments with hard currency returns of above 3.0% after fees. In Russia though, there are several strong selling points andone of them is its “steep-shaped learning-curve”. They say that there are fewer expatsatthe helm of local companies because Russians learned the ropes and kickedmost of the expats outs. Those who remain are indeed very talented people - in my seven years in Russia, I’ve met only one (and he is not German). Russian shrewdness and resilience shouldmake an interesting investment argument. When, again for argument sake, they take awaycurrency reserves and natural resources, there remainsa wild card up the sleeve - theunpredictable, powerful human factor. So should the economic crisis part two and three strike, your Russian investments be just as safe as they’d be in anyof PIIGScountry instruments countries, in any sunny US state munis,or ina magic cave from the famous tale.According to Goldman Sachs Russian market offers the highest investment upside compare to any other CEEMEA country market. Yes, it is still a roller coaster** and the markets will still rise &fall, but this volatility cannot last forever. Imhowe are within a month of some sort of resolution.

I read an interesting article on the upcoming Jewish New Year (Rosh HaShana) - the moon calendar date when the according to Bible first man was created on the sixth day of creation. The article arguesthat there is more fun in making a spiritual celebration of the new beginning than in focusing on the celebration’s “vanity fair” attributes. This week I am flying to NY, on a spiritual quest, leisure and business. English practice is what this essaywasreally about , so instead I’d like to leave you with some ideas from that articleon the New Year.

“The wildest party. Imagine the entire universe in reboot. Imagine a mega-surge of creative energy, enough to power the whole of reality for an entire year. Imagine a system loading parameters for every galaxy, star, planet, organism, cell, protein, molecule and atom over a 48-hour period, and you’re starting to get the idea.”

“Time is also a creation. So time is also renewed. The past now exists as a consequence of the present—something like if you had rebooted in the middle of watching a video and now continued from where you left off. As far as you know, the old past may have been a very different past. But you couldn’t know. “

“So there’s gotta be an accounting made. Like your laptop, the parameters of the physical universe are set at the core level. In this case, that means human consciousness. As far as the Creator is concerned, His entire universe is nothing more than a human observation.”Happy and sweet year!

*”I’m shocked”, said a !former marine!having received a knockout punch in the face …
**American mountains, is what Russian mountains are called in Russia. Yes, US was the first to rock the world’s economy ark.




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