Traffic along the Northern Sea Route, which runs alongside the Siberian cost, is increasing thanks to ‘a political as well as a physical thaw‘. The Education and Science Ministry has drawn up a list of projects to rival Europe’s Large Hadron Collider, including construction of a thermonuclear research center and reactor. Diamond monopoly Alrosa raised $11 million through its first electronic auction. An investment analyst suggests that Bank of Moscow’s financial problems are related to theft and neglect by the central bank, which ‘is likely to have shut its eyes to [the state of affairs in the bank] because [Bank of Moscow] was connected with the United Russia party‘. St. Petersburg company Infobox has launched a program aimed at helping small- and mid-sized businesses get online exposure. Germany’s Continental will invest $320 million in a tire plant in Kaluga.