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Today in Russian Business – Dec 3rd, 2008

The State is intervening to help engine maker Saturn survive the financial crisis, with a state buyout of shares and a personal visit from Vladimir Putin, who reportedly offered the company advice on nanotechnology.  Moscow’s football fans are lacking a team to support as the financial crisis forces existing teams to merge.  Norilsk Nickel’s Russia spending will fall by almost a quarter next year.  Rusal wants the government to create a metals reserve to protect metals producers from the crisis.  Oleg Deripaska says Russia needs a US-style ‘New Deal’ – ‘a new partnership between the state and the business community‘.  Putin wants the government to draw up an entirely new anti-crisis program before Christmas.  Half a million people lost their jobs last month, and levels could reach 7% by the end of the year, says the Health Ministry.  State bank VEB, a major agent in distributing the government’s crisis rescue package, has itself asked the government for a loan of $34 billion to rescue its balance sheet from the damaging effects of assisting other companies.  The MDM and Ursa banks have merged, creating the second-largest non-state bank.  Will the crisis result in ‘a redistribution of property comparable in scale to what happened in the early 1990s‘?