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Today in Russian Business – Oct 14, 2008

What’s the deal with the Kremlin’s opaque ‘secretive anti-crisis task force’, wonders the Moscow Times? An equities trader at Russia’s Renaissance Capital lost the company an estimated $10 million by placing unauthorized bets just as the stock market collapsed. Vladimir Putin’s comments yesterday about the failure of government measures to prevent the financial crisis from affecting Russia’s real sector have been picked up by opposition party The Other Russia, which also reports on the estimated 37 billion rubles that Russian consumers have withdrawn from their banks due to uncertainty about the security of their savings. Medvedev, meanwhile, has increased the value of bank deposits that the government will insure. Vladimir Potanin has sold $600 million worth of assets to Norilsk Nickel. Is it a blow to add to the collective woes of Russia’s oligarchs, or a shrewd business move? Norilsk’s board member Mikhail Prokhorov, currently thought to be feuding with Potanin, warned that the company could go bankrupt if it proceeded with a planned share buyback. Alisher Usmanov has insisted he will not sell his stake in football club Arsenal because he is ‘in love’ with it. VTB shows it is feeling the effects of the crisis, applying for government money. In the period leading up to the crisis, MDM Bank reported a three-fold net profit rise.