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Today in Russian Business – May 23, 2008

In an open letter published in the Financial Times, the owner of Swiss-based oil trader Gunvor has denied that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin‘s help was key to turning his firm into a global player. Bloomberg has Russia’s unemployment rateunexpectedlyrising to 6.6% from 6.4% in April, quoting data from the Federal Statistics Service, but Itar-Tass portrays the number as having dropped to 6.6% by 3%. Polymetal owner Suleiman Kerimov is in talks over the sale of his stake in the company with PPF Group. Paper maker Stora Enso will start a feasibility study on a pulp and paper mill in Nizhny Novgorod. PPG Industries Inc. plans to build an automotive coatings and industrial coatings plant in Russia. Private equity company Lion Capital is to acquire a majority stake in Russian Alcohol Group. Steel maker Severstal will buy 61.5% of an iron ore deposit in Liberia.