Today in Russian Business – Jan 15th, 2009

The ruble continues to lose value, hitting another record low against the Euro and a six-year low against the dollar.  Despite earlier reports that his attempt had been blocked, oligarch Alexander Lebedev (also profiled here) has reportedly made a bid for 75% of London’s Evening Standard newspaper, which could be finalized as early as tomorrow, say some reports ‘This is not my way to make money, but I’d like to explain to the public that newspapers are something they should love and cherish,’ he said.  One analyst commented that such an acquisition would be a ‘trophy asset’.  The news has sparked The Guardian to look at the opportunities for Russian oligarchs in Londonograd.  Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum smelter in Montenegro may close, after plunging metal prices made the plant unprofitable.  Dmitry Medvedev is in talks to plan support for the aluminum and iron-ore industries, amid rumors that the government may ask Russia’s three largest producers to merge.  A Moscow Times contributor compares the current crisis with those of 1998 and the early 1960s.