In the first six months of the year the budget deficit grew to the equivalent of 4.2% of GDP. The Central Bank has cut interest rates again, for the fourth time in three months. The Moscow Times has a rather bleak prognosis of the economic situation. ‘Russia today often seems to combine the worst aspects of a free market and a command economy‘ – an op-ed piece in the Washington Post analyzes the unlikelihood of imminent modernization. ArcelorMittal may sell a coal mine in the Kemerovo region after the local government threatened a takeover. The Times features an interview with indebted billionaire Oleg Deripaska in advance of a film about the tycoon to be broadcast on the BBC. GAZ has agreed on plans for restructuring its $1.25 billion debt, but Alfa Bank is dissatisfied with the terms and may put a stop to the plan. Russian investor Chalva Tchigirinsky has claimed that Elena Baturina, the wife of the Moscow mayor, held 50% of his stake in Sibir Energy in return for helping him with ‘bureaucratic issues’. Russia’s biggest gold producer, Polyus, has offered to buy a 50.1% stake in KazakhGold Group Ltd.