Of Russia’s 1,000-plus banks, only the top five account for nearly half of the sector’s assets, and the central bank’s first deputy chairman says that Russia must discourage its banks from becoming too big, possibly by applying tougher rules on capital and reserves. At a meeting with United Russia officials, Vladimir Putin announced that the government would slash support for banks, saying that the worst of the economic crisis was over. The manufacturing industry is having trouble recovering, reportedly contracting last month. Oleg Deripaska’s metals-to-timber conglomerate Basic Element reveals it has cut about 50,000 jobs since the crisis began. Improved British-Russian relations have sparked an ‘invasion’ of the Russian high street by Barclays and HSBC banks, says the Independent. A BBC video report suggests that the possibility of lucrative economic ties are lubricating Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s Moscow visit. The Telegraph reports on talk of improved trade relations with Russia, with the upcoming visit of Alexei Kudrin to London to tout a $1 billion Eurobond. Russian ‘desperation’ for foreign investment is driving openness towards possible foreign partners, a Telegraph commentator suggests. A slowdown in manufacturing is apparently casting doubt over the recovery. The government’s recent claim to have stabilized inflation is factitious, claims Sergei Shelin in an article translated on the Other Russia.