Average Bribe in Russia Doubles in Rubles, Remains Steady in Dollars

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2015) The amount of the average bribe in Russia has nearly doubled this year, reaching 208,000 rubles ($3,485 at today’s rate), as the country’s currency has shed value amid Western sanctions and an economic downturn, according to Interior Ministry estimates cited by pro-government Izvestia daily on Friday. This compares to about 109,000 rubles […]

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No Quick Fix for Ukraine With Limp Revival Next After Recession

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Agnes Lovasz – July 29, 2015) Ukrainians hoping the trough in their 1 1/2-year economic slump will usher in a rousing recovery are likely to be disappointed. The foreign demand that powered growth after the last recession in 2009 is largely absent. At home, a war with pro-Russian separatists has decimated industry, ravaged government finances and […]

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NEWSWATCH BBC: Russian debtors despair as boom turns to bust

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The BBC covers the Russian economic crisis and the plight of Russians who took on debt during boom times only to face misery and potential disaster now. Millions of Russians took out loans during the economic boom years, but now they face crippling debts and the law is not on their side …. * * * … the Russian United Credit Bureau […]

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Russia is swimming in oil; Russia’s oil industry lacks the infrastructure to avoid spills and leaks; and the environmental consequences are horrific

Oil Wells File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – July 28, 2015) Georgy Borodyansky is an Omsk-based correspondent for Novaya Gazeta. Russian oil giant Rosneft has dumped on us northerners once again. It’s unlikely that anyone apart from the locals would have heard about the pipeline which burst on the outskirts of Nefteyugansk if not for photos of the aftermath on social media. The pictures were taken […]

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Russia’s Book Industry Wanes as Russians Stop Reading

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

  (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – July 30, 2015) More Russian bookshops are facing closure every year, shaking the publishing industry and threatening writing as a profession. Bookselling, never the most profitable retail business, is struggling to stay afloat thanks to expensive shop rental rates and decreasing interest from customers. In Moscow, considered the most well-read city […]

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Economic Crisis, Uncertainty about the Future Pushing Russian Birthrate Down

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 30, 2015) The Russian statistics agency reported yesterday that the birthrate in the Russian Federation had fallen to 12.6 children per 1000 population, lower than it has been at any point in the last three years and, according to experts, a reflection of both underlying demographic trends and current uncertainties about the future among Russians. […]

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Russian Defense Industry Revenues Soar Despite Western Sanctions

Russian Soldiers Marching

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 29, 2015) The Russian government bought defense equipment worth almost 2 trillion rubles ($33.2 billion) in 2014, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in April. Russia’s major defense industry enterprises shrugged off Western sanctions and a Russian economic slowdown to grow their revenues rapidly in 2014, according to a new global ranking. […]

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Ukraine is ripe for the shock doctrine; Like many states in crisis before it, Ukraine serves as a perfect opportunity for neoliberal transformation.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(opendemocracy.net – Sean Guillory – July 27, 2015) Sean Guillory is a UCIS/REES postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. He hosts the podcast New Books in Russian and Eurasian Studies and received his PhD in History at UCLA. Follow him on Twitter @seansrussiablog While a crisis of faith, of sorts, has resounded in western discourse on the economic effectiveness […]

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Classes Aimed at Raising a New Generation of Russian Businessmen

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Tyan – July 28, 2015) The newly renovated VDNKh park in northern Moscow is investing in the future with the Young Investor School, which will open at Pavilion 14 early next month. Starting on Aug. 6, every Thursday and Friday, children between the ages of 8-14 can learn about the career of investment banking […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: Ukraine puts new debt restructuring proposals to creditors – minister

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Reuters covers the restructuring of Ukrainian debt. Heavily indebted Ukraine has made new proposals to its creditors for restructuring $23 billion of foreign debt and is now awaiting their response …. *** The IMF has brought relief to Ukraine by saying it will disburse $1.7 billion in fresh funds under a $17.5 bailout package irrespective of a restructuring deal being […]

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Power to the people; As Electric Yerevan showed, governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia will face the risk of social and political unrest when they move to compel their citizens to pay market rates for electricity.

Electrical Yard file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow and Nick Allen in Berlin – July 27, 2015) The Electric Yerevan protests in Armenia burned brightly before police finally quashed them in early July. But the issue of electricity tariffs that sparked the protests will not go away: nearly half the countries in Emerging Europe also face a similarly […]

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U.S. may keep sanctions for years, Russia to run economy, trade accordingly – PM

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – July 24, 2015) Russia will be developing its economic and trade policies assuming that the United States may keep the sanctions it imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis for many more years, Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has said. Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying in an interview to the Slovenian newspaper DELO ahead of a visit […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Stephen Hadley, Robert Zoellick: Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine. Without debt reduction and more aid, a young democracy could vanish.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Hadley and Robert Zoellick address the issue of Western assistance for Ukraine amidst the Russo-Ukrainian War, including financial and debt-related assistance. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the […]

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Medvedev Upbeat About Russian Economy, Ties With Europe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – July 24, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he expects Russia’s recession-hit economy to start growing again at the end of the year, while he hopes for improving economic ties with friendly countries in southeastern Europe. “I think that the economy will return to the path of growth in late 2015, early 2016. It won’t […]

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RBTH: Success in the U.S.: How Three young Soviet-born entrepreneurs made it; Strong family ties and work ethics were key for these young businessmen

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Aleksandra Efimova, special to RBTH – July 13, 2015) I recently spoke with three young entrepreneurs, each born in the Soviet Union. I wanted to discover if these sharp and accomplished young businesspeople shared common threads that could be followed back to their Soviet origins. Leon Oks, founder of iCanvas, is 34 years […]

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Russian Single-Industry Towns Face Crisis

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) Most of Russia’s single-industry towns are at risk of economic collapse that would cause massive social dislocation and see millions of Russians lose their livelihoods, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying Wednesday. Some 14 million Russians live in the 319 Russian towns that, in a holdover from the Soviet era, […]

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Russians Can’t Decide Between Economic Development and Military Power

Russian Soldiers Marching

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 22, 2015) Russians are divided between focusing the nation’s efforts on rejuvenating its military power and developing a strong economy, according to a survey published Tuesday by the Levada Center, an independent polling center. Russia is halfway through a decade-long 20 trillion ruble ($350 billion) military rearmament and modernization campaign that critics say is […]

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Russia Braces for Longest Recession in Decades With $50 Oil

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – July 22, 2015) For an economy that lives and dies by crude prices, the latest downturn in the world oil market means Russia’s recession may stretch into next year for the longest slump in two decades. Russia’s first economic slump since 2009 looked like it would plateau as oil gained 40 percent from […]

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Economic Crisis Driving Foreigners Out of Russia – Experts

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – July 21, 2015) Foreigners that used to live and work in Russia are now fleeing en masse, the Federal Migration Service has revealed. Since January 2014, 41 percent of Spanish nationals, 38 percent of British nationals, 36 percent of U.S. nationals and 31 percent of German nationals have left Russia, the Noviye […]

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Putin Warns Russian Defense Industry Not to Fall Behind

Igla Missile Test Firing file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Anna DolgovJ – July 20, 2015) Russia’s military modernization drive is stalling this year under the weight of Western sanctions and the decay of the domestic defense industry, a deputy defense minister told President Vladimir Putin. The defense industry is struggling to keep to schedule on government contracts under a decade-long 20 trillion […]

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Russia’s Beating the BRICS in 2015 on Turnaround Potential

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Maria Levitov – July 19, 2015) Which country would you invest in: a fast-growing economic powerhouse with a world-beating stock market or a tottering former superpower embroiled in a proxy war and heading for a recession? If at the start of 2015 you had chosen the second, Russia, you would be walking away with risk-adjusted returns […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Ariel Cohen: How Russia Could Become a Food Superpower

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ariel Cohen addresses historical shifts in Russian agriculture, and what the future might hold. Russia could be a food superpower, given its vast soil and water resources. It still may become one, but the question is whether the food will be Western or Chinese. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian economy has […]

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Russian Government Failing to Stem Rising Poverty

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 20, 2015) The government is failing to protect Russians who are falling into poverty at the fastest rate for nearly two decades, an economist said in an interview published Monday. The soaring inflation that followed Western sanctions against Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and meddling in eastern Ukraine is eroding […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times/Andrei Kozyrev: Russia’s Coming Regime Change

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Writing in The New York Times, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev addresses the future of Russian governance in the face of multiple economic, political and international challenges. The firmness of the West in protecting the sovereignty of Ukraine and restoring its territorial integrity is a prerequisite not only to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive impulses, but also to engage […]

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Weak ruble is the ‘new norm’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – July 17, 2015) It is axiomatic that every major sporting event has a distinctive theme tune and every financial crisis has at least one unique descriptive slogan or buzzword. In Russia today the competition for that catchphrase is between “localisation” and “the new norm”. A great deal has already […]

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Poverty Hits ‘Critical’ Level – Government

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 15, 2015) Poverty in Russia has reached “critical” levels, a deputy prime minister said, after government data showed a sharp increase in the number of people living below the poverty line. “Unfortunately, predictions are coming true: According to official statistics, the number of poor people has reached 22 million. This is critical,” Deputy Prime […]

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NEWSLINK Australian Financial Review: How Russia proved to be the best BRICS bet in 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Russia’s surge in fortunes presents a contrast with the events of December, when stocks tumbled almost 9 percent and the ruble sank to a record, prompting the central bank to raise interest rates to the highest in more than a decade. That marked the peak of turmoil that had begun with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March and crude oil’s […]

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Why Russians fear August

Forest Fire file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – July 10, 2015) As we all know only too well, winters are long and cold in Russia while summers are relatively short but quite pleasant. Once Easter has passed, people start marking the calendar until they can throw off their winter armour and re-open their dachas. August is the […]

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RBTH: Seventy percent of Russians opposed to compromise on sanctions – report

russia-economy

According to a new Levada Center opinion poll, 70 percent of Russian citizens believe that Russia should not make any sanctions-related concessions, even though a third of the population has admitted that sanctions are a problem. However, despite these difficulties, Russians continue to back President Vladimir Putin, whose popularity rating has never been higher. Experts have several theories for why […]

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Putin calls for BRICS to assert financial independence from West

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 10, 2015) With a total GDP of $32 trillion and uniting 43% of the world’s population, the BRICS grouping of emerging powers took an assertive global stance at its annual summit in the Russian city of Ufa, as it unrolled plans to rival Western-dominated financial institutions. Marking the organisation’s seventh […]

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Interfax: Putin says Eurasia’s not a chessboard, it’s our home

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Interfax – July 9, 2015) Russia and its neighbours in the Eurasian landmass should not be treated as a “chessboard” or a “geopolitical playing field”, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 9 July in remarks reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax. “For us, this isn’t a chessboard, it’s not a geopolitical playing field – this is our home, and […]

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Russia Signals Tighter Ruble Reins as Economy Braces for Shocks

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andrey Biryukov, Olga Voitova – July 9, 2015) Russia is asserting more control over its currency as crises from Greece to China create new vulnerabilities for the recession-hit economy. Russia is succeeding at keeping the ruble within an “acceptable corridor” while maintaining its reserves and a positive trade balance, President Vladimir Putin said on […]

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Russian weapons face West’s economic wall

asia-map-400

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Rakesh Krishnan Simha, special to RBTH – July 8, 2015) Despite being technologically ahead, Russian weapons face a virtual ban in the West. However, the picture is entirely different in Asia. Russian weapons are good enough for China and India – countries flush with cash and able to afford the best – but […]

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Russia Searches for Post-G8 Footing at BRICS Summit

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – July 8, 2015) The leaders of the world’s biggest emerging economies will meet in Russia on Thursday for a powwow that Moscow hopes will demonstrate the futility of Western efforts to isolate the country. The summit of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – that opens Wednesday […]

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Moscow Times: Poll: Nearly Half of Russians Favor Decent Wages Over Free Speech

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – July 8, 2015) More than 40 percent of Russians would be willing to forgo the right to free speech and the freedom to travel abroad if Russian authorities would guarantee “decent” salaries and pensions, a poll released Tuesday by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed. Forty-two percent of Russians said they preferred […]

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Seven New Laws That Will Change the Face of Russia

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 8, 2015) Russian lawmakers have kept themselves very busy this year. Over the course of its spring session, which ended Friday, Russia’s State Duma passed a total of 278 new laws. The majority of these were unremarkable – ratifications to international agreements, minor budgetary adjustments and a busload of measures aimed […]

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What Does Greece’s ‘No’ Vote Mean for Russia?

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova, Delphine d’Amora – July 7, 2015) As EU leaders gather Tuesday to seek an answer to Greece’s sweeping rejection of international bailout terms, Russia -the EU’s third-largest trading partner – is quietly waiting to see where the chips fall. Hailed as a victory for democracy by Greece’s new far-left leaders, the resounding “no” […]

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Russia most likely to have 10.5% inflation for year – Ulyukayev

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. July 7 (Interfax) – Russia is must likely to have 10.5% inflation for this year, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said. “Our official forecast is 11.9%. We won’t be changing it before we submit our adjusted forecast to the government. Officially it will remain such until September. But right now we see the most likely dynamic as falling to […]

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Perspectives on Russia: June 2015

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Subject: Perspectives on Russia: June 2015 Date: Sun, 05 Jul 2015 From: Sharon Tennison <sharon@ccisf.org> Sharon Tennison has worked for 30 years in Russia and the CIS, creating numerous multi-year, multi-million dollar programs to provide training for Soviet and Russian citizens to gain independence and skills designed for self governance. She is founder and President of the Center for Citizen […]

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Saudi Arabia to invest $10bn in Russia via fund

Middle East Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 7, 2015) Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund, will invest $10bn in Russia via the government-run Russian Direct Invest Fund (RDIF), in what will be Saudi Arabia’s biggest ever investment in Russia. “This is a landmark transaction, one of the largest transactions in the realm of sovereign […]

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Ruble’s Top Forecaster Sees Deeper Rout as Companies Repay Debt

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 2, 2015) Sanctions are once again catching up on the ruble. While still the best performer in the world this year, no emerging-market currency has fallen more in the past month as the effect of rebounding oil prices faded. Approaching foreign-debt payments and a shrinking economy probably mean it has a further […]

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Is Saudi Arabia Leaving The U.S. Behind For Russia?

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – July 1, 2015) The news from the recent St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which took place from June 18 to 20, inspired a torrent of speculation on the future direction of energy prices. But the real buzz at the conference was the unexpected but much publicized visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, as an emissary […]

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Russia comes out worst in wealth equality study

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – July 2, 2015) Over four-fifths of Russia’s national wealth is held by just one-tenth of the overall population, according to the 2014 Global Wealth Databook, produced by financial services group Credit Suisse. The 84.8% of wealth held by the top decile of Russia’s population was the highest proportion measured […]

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RIA Novosti: No plans for military alliance with Moscow, says Chinese envoy

Eurasia Map

(RIA Novosti – June 30, 2015) Li Hui, the Chinese ambassador to Russia, has said that Beijing has no plans to form a military alliance with Moscow. He made this statement during an in-depth interview published on the website of RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) on 30 June. (http://bit.ly/1FNjB7z) No threat to third parties […]

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Russia-China pipeline to be largest infrastructure project in world – premier

Gas Flame file photo

(Interfax – June 29, 2015) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has announced that the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, which is set to run from Russia to China, will be the world’s largest infrastructure project, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 29 June. Speaking at a ceremony dedicated to the start of construction of the Chinese part of the […]

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Russia’s state banks are rotten

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 29, 2015) Banks epitomise capitalism, but not in Russia. The financial industrial empires of men like JP Morgan, Rockefeller, Rothschild and Harriman are intimately tied up with creating the vibrant no-holds-barred capitalism in the US. In Russia the top five banks are all state-owned and their power comes […]

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