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Today in Russian Business – March 27, 2009

Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina, under investigation for mismanaging state funds intended for high-tech startups, insists that diversification into technology will help Russia to emerge from the economic downturn.  Russia’s international reserves rose more last week than in any other week this year, in part thanks to a plunging dollar.  As planned, Aeroflot’s board has fired its chief executive Valery Okulov and replaced him with Vitaly Savelyev, a Sistema executive ‘with no previous experience in the aviation sector’.  The President of Alfa Bank has warned that hundreds of Russian banks are likely to go under by the end of the year.  First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov says Russia will build its first factory to assemble cars in the Far East, following protests in Vladivostok over car import duties.  Meanwhile demand for luxury cars has apparently not flagged, as BMW intends to start producing its sport-utility vehicles in Russia this year to meet rising demand.  Rosselkhozbank has set aside $600 million for the fishing industry.  ‘Come and get it,’ says its chairman.