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Selling more silver

Needing cash, the Kremlin is willing to sell a stake in Bashneft and maybe even Rosneft

A combination of sanctions and a low appetite for Russian risk will make the latest privatisation programme, including a majority stake in oil-producer Bashneft, a hard sell – but the Kremlin is betting strategic buyers will swoop in to buy energy assets at bargain prices. Russia’s privatisation track record is hardly studded with glory. Ordinary Russians are still furious that a handful of sharp operators ended up with the Soviet Union’s corporate gems through the flawed vouchers-for-shares schemes of the 1990s. So-called “people’s IPOs” of oil-producer Rosneft and lender VTB a decade later were also unpopular – share prices sank following the initial listings. This time around the sale w

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