Prime Minister Vladimir Putin oversaw the signing of $775 million worth of deals during his trip to Copenhagen, including agreements in agiculture, transport, energy and mining. Sweden is his next stop – although ‘Russian relations with Sweden have not thawed to the same extent as those with Denmark‘. M&A is making a slow climb back up to pre-crisis levels, although its 2010 volume was almost double that of the previous year. Amid discussion of inflation being a higher priority than weakening the rouble, the currency hit a two and a half year high against the dollar yesterday. Stefan Wagstyl says that the rouble might be strengthening against the dollar, but it hasn’t budged against the Euro. Vladimir Lisin, owner of Novolipetsk Steel and Russia’s richest man, says that his empire is not affected by a strengthening rouble. The Deputy Economic Development Minister says that Russia needs to protect its ‘intellectual class‘ if it wants to show that it values education, science and healthcare, and forecasted a diminished middle class. VTB has posted a record quarterly profit for the last three months of 2010. More than $3.7 billion in revenue from a sale by the Moscow government of a bank ‘has not appeared in the city’s budget‘ – although a city government spokesperson says the money will appear ‘by October‘, having been held up by legal complications.