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Today in Russian Business

Russia’s second largest mobile phone operator VimpelCom became the first carrier to offer the popular BlackBerry mobile email service in the country – a technology which has previously been slowed to market by regulatory hurdles and other IP issues. Viktor Vekselberg, one of Russia’s richest entrepreneurs and a shareholder of the troubled TNK-BP, has increased his share in the Swiss high technology company Oerlikon to more than 24%, representing a split with other Austrain raiders and triggering a possible change on the board. Denis Bugrov, chairman of the board of Sberbank, says that the group is confident that it can become one of the world’s top ten financial institutions in capitalization by acquiring corporate and retail businesses overseas – today just 1% of Sberbank’s revenues come from abroad, and the plan is to raise this to 20% by 2014. Tomorrow Norilsk Nickel will hold an extraordinary meeting which should determine whether owner Vladimir Potanin can convince his former partner Mikhail Prokhorov to sell his 25% stake in the metals giant to Alisher Usmanov rather than to Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal. Minority investors in Norilsk such as Blackrock and Fidelity stand to lose out if the Rusal deal passes.