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Today in Russian Business – Feb 16th, 2009

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said that the main stage of ruble devaluation is ‘over’, as its current rate of 34.56 to the dollar reflects its real purchasing power, although the currency did weaken slightly against the dollar this morning.  Kudrin also suggested that Russia’s budget deficit this year may be less than Britain’s, and said that the formulation of a new budget would be difficult, scrupulous work’.  On Russia’s last 49 billionaires, the richest of whom, despite having lost a third of his fortune over the past year, is Mikhail Prokhorov.  Any hope that Russia may have had of taking a stronger role at the G7/G8 groups seems to have evaporated along with last year’s astronomical oil prices, says the New York Times.  The G20 will meet in London on April 2, with Medvedev anticipating ‘constructive debate’.  Norilsk Nickel is to suspend two nickel mining operations in Australia.