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Today in Russian Business – Oct 21, 2010

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has discussed details of the government’s privatization plans, which could see sales of 900 company stakes with a total value of $58.5 billion, and include a 100% stake in United Grain Company, just under 50% of Sovkomflot, and stakes in Sberbank, VTB and Rosneft.  Russia will seek to sell up to $3 billion in ruble bonds on international markets in a bid to compensate for the currency’s current weakness, starting next month.  In response to accusations from the government about potentially monopolistic activities, Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom and Megafon are to cut prices on some of their consumer services.  Analysts believe that the ongoing battle for control of Norilsk Nickel will most likely be won by Interros’ Vladimir Potanin, on grounds that he would garner the most minority shareholder support.  An $800 million asset formerly owned by Yukos is being disputed, after an Amsterdam court ruled that it would not recognize its 2007 sale.  ‘Russia gets no credit from investors for the reforms that have already been carried out.‘  The Industry and Trade Minister says that Russia will have the top car market in Europe by 2014.  Barack Obama’s hints that Russia’s battle to join the WTO are coming to an end herald the potential of integrating the Russian and US markets, says the Washington Post.  Spending for United Russia’s clean water initiative has been almost halved, amid opposition complaints that the technologies proposed do not work.