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Today in Russian Business – March 10th, 2009

The Finance Ministry says that the revised 2009 budget will not include additional funding for mortgages, which will toughen demand for borrowers.  A 33% stake in Troika Dialog was bought by South Africa’s Standard Bank last week, and Troika hopes to use the resulting cash injection to consolidate its position on the Russian market by buying up ‘troubled’ Russian assets.  Oleg Deripaska’s United Company RusAl will halt debt repayments for two months as it tries to renegotiate $7.4 billion of borrowings from foreign banks.  Things are not looking good for Russia’s publishing industry: ‘even the most optimistic assessments show advertising revenues have dropped 25 percent in comparison with the same period last year’.  Diamonds group De Beers has halted production in Botswana for at least seven weeks, citing a drop in demand that even the oligarchs cannot ease.