Russian legislators have taken the first step to limiting foreign investment in 42 strategic sectors, including energy, mass media and aerospace.


A Russian bill would limit foreign ownership in several sectors, including energy. Russia's Sakhalin Island, above, last September, is home to world's largest oil and gas project. ((Burt Herman/Associated Press))

The Kremlin is already in control of the oil and gas business, and this bill will enable it to dominate other key sectors.

The bill gives a Russian commission of economic and security officials a veto over any deal in which a foreign company wants to buy control — more than 50 per cent — of Russian companies in the named sectors.

The proposed rule is even tougher for companies controlled by foreign governments. They will need permission from the commission to buy more than 25 per cent in a Russian company covered by the legislation.

Russia's lower house of parliament gave preliminary approval to the bill on Friday.

The approval suggests that the bill is likely to become law without substantial changes, because the remaining approvals required are by bodies either controlled by the Kremlin or under its influence.

With files from the Associated Press