Russia’s economy shrank at the slowest monthly pace this year in September. Apparently the Lada has become the quickest growing car brand in Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall, spurred on by Merkel’s cash-for-scrap program. Putin has offered more funding to Avtovaz, but it is unclear as to whether Renault will participate. The Russian automaker’s management claim the company has no intention of dismissing employees whose retirement age is long-off. VTB has acquired a controlling interest in Cristall’s 11 distilleries, which make Stolichnaya vodka. Steel maker Severstal says that production at its mills is regaining momentum. Russia plans to restructure fixed-line operator holding company Svyazinvest by spring 2011. Sheremetyevo Airport could be privatized to shore up the budget deficit. The Times reports on the story of Sergei Frank, former transport minister, then chief executive of shipping group Sovcomflot, who allegedly hired investigators to build a dossier of evidence to frame the shipping group’s former executive director Yuri Privalov. The Russian Federation of Independent Trade Unions has begun a five-day mass protest today called ‘For Worthy Labor!‘.