In a video interview with Bloomberg, Central Bank deputy Alexei Ulyukayev denies that Russia’s weak ruble has anything to do with ‘currency wars‘. Sergei Pugachyov’s International Industrial Bank (Mezhprombank) has become the first top Russian bank to lose its license since 2008, apparently due to a loss of liquidity; the bank will close as a result. President Dmitry Medvedev is in Algeria today, reportedly to seek to influence the country’s decision on a potential sale of telecoms assets to Russia. VimpelCom will almost double in size thanks to its acquisition of $20.6 billion worth of assets from Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris (‘a reasonable price‘, says the WSJ), with borrowing costs are at record lows, indicating strong investor support. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has added $3 billion to the federal budget this year to deal with Russia’s ‘acute problems‘, including housing projects and Russian Railways’ investment plan. During his Russia Calling! forum speech, Putin revealed that the state could sell off entire stakes as part of its privatization plan, or at least become a minority shareholder in certain assets including VTB Group; and China Investment Corp says it is keen to bid. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, speaking at the same forum, suggested that inflation this year would be at its lowest since 1992. Russia’s third-best food retailer by sales, O’key, is planning a $500 million London IPO this year. Hilton’s new Doubletree Hotel near Novosibirsk is a good sign that tourism in the area is opening up, says The Independent.