First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has pledged not to fire workers from near-insolvent Avtovaz, but to create new subsidiaries employing up to 15,000 people. Auto sales declined by 51% in the first 10 months of 2009, compared with the same period last year. At the annual Foreign Investment Advisory Council, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has wooed foreign investors by concurring with their criticisms about ‘excessive bureaucracy’. The number of unemployed in Russia has begun to mount, having fallen successively for six months. The Central Bank may buy gold from the state repository, says its First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev. Evraz Group plans to sell as much as $1.04 billion of 10-year bonds, the company has announced. Coking coal miner Mechel has seen a reversal of fortune, now back to a pre-crisis level of production and posting a $219 million net profit in the three months to June, after being dogged by losses in the two prior quarters. Long-distance call operator Rostelecom saw an 85% drop in first-half net profit, to $48.3 million. According to the Washington Post, Venezuela and Russia say they are working on a series of technology-sharing agreements.