Prime Minister Putin has promised to offer loans and subsidies to farmers of the 14 regions that have been badly affected by the worst drought Russia has seen in 38 years. An extended discount on fuel supplies to farmers is one part of the relief package to cushion the impact of what the government believes could cost $1 billion in unearned revenue from damaged crops. President Medvedev has told ambassadors in an apparently somewhat castigatory address that that their work should be about ‘economic development’ and forging economic alliances with Europe and the US, rather than making ideological assertions. According to the FT, Digital Sky Technologies has completed its $187.5m acquisition of instant messaging service ICQ from AOL. Kazakhstan has apparently jeopardized plans to merge its state gold company, KazakhGold, with Polyus Gold, by annulling the sale of shares in the former to the latter. See what plans Russia has for fund raising in an interview with Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin here.