The 2009 MIDEM international music market will open Jan. 18 in Cannes with a day of programming dedicated to the Russian music industry. The program is being organized in conjunction with Billboard Russia.

The day’s events will include panel discussions about opportunities in the Russian market and conclude with performances by Russian artists at MIDEM’s opening-night party.

“It’s very important for the Russian industry to show that it is ready for more international cooperation,” Billboard Russia editorial director Ilya Buts says.

The program will address developments in digital music, recent and proposed changes in Russian laws governing online licensing and copyrights, and other issues.

Participants will include Anton Grishin, CEO of Russian indie Megaliner Records; Style Records CEO Oleg Lobov; and officials from Russian authors’ collecting society RAO.

The opening-night party at Cannes’ Palais des Festivals will feature performances by such Russian pop artists as Sergey (Style Records) and Valeriya (NOX Music).

Russian industry execs “are now in a position where they really want to explain what the Russian market is how and how to do business with them,” MIDEM director Dominique Leguern says, adding that the program “will give some really practical information on how to penetrate the Russian market.”

MIDEM organizers say the number of Russian attendees at the music market has risen by about 70% during the last two years.