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Today in Russian Business – May 7, 2008

Which is it? One Central Bank deputy says policy makers may allow the ruble to appreciate against the dollar and euro to help curb inflation, while another has criticized commercial banks for anticipating a currency revaluation. Russia’s three top cellphone companies — VimpelCom, Mobile TeleSystems and Megaphone — are generating excess cash that they cannot invest in their saturated domestic market, sparking speculation that one of them could make a bid for South Africa’s MTN Group. Meat processing firm Cherkizovo raised $82.25 million in a local offering of new shares. United Airlines will start nonstop passenger and cargo flights to Moscow from Washington D.C. to profit from “exponential” growth in commerce and tourism in Russia. The freeze on the Russian central bank’s French assets, first set into place as part of a suit by Swiss trading firm Noga, has been lifted. Energomash, the rocket engine manufacturer, is planning to double the number of engines produced for Atlas and Zenit launch vehicles. Russian Railways workers are threatening further strikes if their salaries are not doubled. AvtoVAZ and partner Renault are lobbying the government to eliminate tariffs on imported car parts.