Today in Russian Business – Feb 9th, 2009

State-run banks could unite to co-manage toxic assets from borrowers who default on loans as a means of ‘cutting expenses’.  Coal miner SUEK has secured a 9.66 billion rouble ($265.6 million) loan from state-controlled bank VTB.  Irate traders are demanding that the CEOs of the MICEX and RTS be more transparent about their plans and closures.  Is Russia returning to the bartering that was so popular during the 1990s, when ‘barter transactions in Russia accounted for an astonishing 50% of sales for midsize enterprises and 75% for large ones’?  Yet another interview with Alexander Lebedev, who is building a positive profile in the UK press.  Meanwhile, The Times reports that ‘Boris Berezovsky is fighting the widow of his closest friend for half the dead man’s £6 billion fortune’.