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Today in Russian Business – Aug 17, 2010

The Finance Ministry wants to cancel state subsidies of major infrastructure, such as rail tracks and power lines, to shore in $85 million for the budget and help narrow deficits from 2012 onwards.  President Dmitry Medvedev called on Russia’s most powerful businessmen to support rebuilding efforts in villages destroyed by fire. ‘The businessmen, most of whom profited from controversial privatisations in the 1990s, usually oblige,notes Reuters, as the request won promises of ‘patronage‘ from Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Potanin and Leonid Mikhelson.  Agricultural analysts are estimating that grain output will suffer a 40% loss this year, cutting previous forecasts of 70-75 million tons to 59.5-63.5 million.  Industrial production growth is at an 8-month low, also thanks to the heatwave.  Recent studies show that the extreme weather drove up the price of cottage rentals outside Moscow by almost 50% last month.