Russia and Belarus are expected to approve a package of joint anti-crisis measures, together with an agreement on the joint protection of the Union State airspace and the creation of an integrated regional air-defense system, at today’s Union State Supreme Council meeting. Kazakhstan is buying a controlling stake in BTA Bank, but may sell half of it on to Sberbank, as it ‘doesn’t have any extra money’ to invest. The ruble continues to drop, falling below the target exchange rate barrier – a Commerzbank analyst would like you to believe that the increasing decline is ‘driven by a desire to touch the boundary’. How to deal with the plunging ruble? Barter. The RTS ‘has lost three quarters of its value in seven months – the worst performing stock market of size in the world’. One cause for optimism in the real estate sector is that prices have ‘very nearly bottomed out‘, suggesting that investors will return to the market. The Economist looks at the changing structure of Russian debt.