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Today in Russian Business – March 17th, 2009

Shares in VTB Group and Sberbank have climbed following news that the central bank may allow lenders to use subordinated loans as Tier 1 capital.  Moscow is witnessing an exodus of designer boutiques as customers disappear.  Russia’s high-end commercial and residential construction company, AFI Development, posted a net loss of $108 million for 2008 and a plunging net asset valueThe Independent says that many are ‘rejoicing’ at the news that Yelena Baturina, Russia’s richest woman, is seeking a state bailout because ‘anything that slows down the construction that has destroyed much of old Moscow is welcome’.  Dmitri Medvedev says the government won’t give bailouts to tycoons and their companies unless they can present concrete restructuring plans for dealing with the economic crisis.  Aeroflot’s investors are alarmed by an apparent government attempt to unseat the airline’s veteran chief executive and give him a post in the transport ministry.