One would have to dig much deeper to find other worrisome stories, like when some Russian banks refused to give out cash to depositors wishing to make early withdrawals on their fixed-term savings accounts. These issues are not mentioned in the mainstream media, but they are on peoples’ lips. Moreover, there is hardly any debate about the structure of the planned bailout, which some are now calling the reversal of the loans-for-shares scheme of the mid-1990s.
We’ve blogged about Mikhail Fridman not being completely thrilled about the state budging in on Alfa Bank, but probably the most wildly elaborate extrapolation of this shares-for-loans process is the the theory coming out of RUXX that the government is preparing a takeover of Oleg Deripaska’s hard earned 25% stake in Norilsk, the most prized Russian mining company, with a $4.5 billion loan (more than double the limit that economic officials had originally set for corporate bailouts).
Accepting Kremlin help in the crisis may be an unavoidable Faustian bargain, but we would be very surprised to see the state actually take over a monster like Norilsk.