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Today in Russian Business – Jan 14th, 2009

The financial crisis is having a dire effect on migrants who depend on money from their employers to support their families back home, meaning that the effects of Russia’s plummeting economy are felt in many other countries.  The rate of unemployment in Moscow has more than doubled over the New Year period and the city’s Mayor is trying to encourage residents to buy apartments, saying that reports of anticipated price drops are disinformation’.  For the first time since 2004, Russia had no IPOs during the last quarter.  The central bank has devalued the ruble for the third time in four days.  Venezuela has formed Venrus, a joint venture with Russia, to operate the Las Cristinas gold mine, and Canadian miner Crystallex says it could take legal action over the venture, complaining that it had been waiting years for a permit allowing it to operate the mine.  Mechel announced it would borrow $255 million from Gazprombank in order to fund the construction of a mill for steel rail production, on the same day that the bank had its credit rating lowered to ‘junk’ by Standard & Poor’s.  The government wants to counter the ‘brain drain’, and is trying to win back some of its scientists who have left for better-paying jobs abroad by offering them lucrative opportunities for team leadership in exchange for just a few months’ work each year.  Is increased military spending really a good idea for Russia?