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Today in Russian Business – May 11, 2009

Reuters examines the pressure on car factory workers as the industry suffers and pay is slashed; the possibility of mass discontent is a ‘real risk’.  Vladimir Putin has reportedly announced that ‘Canadian-Austrian company Magna asked Russian financial institutions and GAZ to make a proposal to Opel’, whilst Gaz and Sberbank had previously denied any such involvement.  Bad assets are apparently preventing Russia from restarting lending, which may prolong the recession.  VEB has changed its loan rules and will require banks to lend the money they borrow to priority industries as the government battles to keep certain sectors afloat.  Mechel has finalized an agreement to buy the American coal producer Bluestone Coal for $436 million.  Vladimir Lisin’s Novolipetsk Steel has recommenced production at its remaining idle blast furnace, following a major upgrade.  The Financial Times has an analysis of telecoms giant Vimpelcom, the first Russian company to be listed in the New York Stock Exchange and the first to open a corporate university.