Today in Russian Business – Oct 29, 2009

Itar-Tass reports that the office of Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov denied a report that the government has approved the laying off of 20,000 AvtoVAZ workers, but the Moscow Times suggests that Shuvalov is trying to limit damage from the losses by working to find other opportunities for the workers. Russia’s international reserves reportedly grew by $5.9 billion over the course of last week.  The state initiative to compensate drivers for turning in old cars to be recycled is a great idea, but the program is unlikely to go ahead due to ‘lack of legislation and recycling infrastructure‘.  Pigs aren’t the only unusual collateral on offer: ‘government-controlled banks’ balance sheets [are] swell[ing] with nonfinancial assets‘.  Belgian-based insurance group Fortis is discontinuing its insurance activities in Russia.