Car sales in Russia fell 46% last month, year-on-year. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin says that the privatization of state-owned companies will benefit the companies themselves, not the state budget: ‘This is not a sale of stakes, with the proceeds going into the budget, but an IPO, the result of which being that the money will become part of the equity of the company,‘ he said. Deutsche Bank has criticized Russia’s syndicated lending practices, in part because, it says, they discriminate against foreign banks. Russia’s Alrosa, which accounts for 25% of global diamond output, is expecting 2009 output value to hit $2.24 billion. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised $330 million of government support next year to indebted arms maker Uralvagonzavod (less than one sixth of its debt). ‘Despite the tightness of real interest rates, there is a significant risk of [Russian] asset prices sliding back toward economic fundamentals in the coming months,‘ says the Moscow Times. A new Duma bill may help companies to import new technologies from Europe. Airbus is forecasting that it will double its fleet in the next 20 years. New trade legislation ‘hardly even touches issues of protecting the rights and interests of the consumer, although that is its proclaimed goal‘, laments the president’s State Legal Directorate.