Today in Russian Business – Oct 10, 2008

The stock markets have gained back some of their losses after a surprise reopening, with sharp rises on both the MICEX and the RTS causing temporary trading suspensions. Traders have complained of the markets keeping ‘erratic’ hours. ‘Cynical speculation over the motives behind the Kremlin’s [financial rescue offer to Iceland] has been rife.’ And the West’s refusal to help has given Iceland opportunities to make ‘new friends’. Russia’s government will start delivering emergency cash to its own banking sector in ‘the next few days’. One Russian banker forecasts that the economic crisis will cut the number of the country’s banks, and estimates a 2% drop in economic growth. A call from Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party, to fire Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin over the crisis, has been ‘brushed aside’ by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs have lost an estimated $230 billion due to the crisis – a combined 62% of their total wealth. Severstal is cutting staff at one of its US plants. Magnit has canceled a share sale.