Reports say that inflation reached 5.3% by the end of March. Vladimir Putin states that the government will not close the domestic market to imported goods. Car plant Izhavto will shut down indefinitely, entailing 5,000 job losses; Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum smelter KAP will send 450 workers on temporary leave. The regional governor of the Sverdlovsk region reportedly wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin requesting lower electricity rates for struggling aluminum enterprise Rusal. The company will delay the construction of its new power plant until it restabilizes financially. Foreign debts worth $50 billion were paid back by Russian banks and enterprises in the last quarter of 2008. Grocery giant Magnit will continue with major expansion in 2009 due to unexpectedly positive returns in 2008. Following major losses, shareholders in VTB Bank have complained that they feel ‘cheated by the state,’ having bought shares from government officials promoting ‘people’s IPOs,’ says the Moscow Times. Suleiman Kerimov has bought a 25% stake in PIK group.