Lost Trillions Haunt Russian Budget Keeper in Cheap-Oil Era

Tatiana Golikova file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Anna Andrianova – September 21, 2016) To get a snapshot of a budget in crisis, visit any of the 10,700 abandoned construction sites that litter Russia, all that’s left after a trickle of state funding ran dry. The costly clutter is one reason the head of the Audit Chamber, a government agency that monitors […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Eastern Economic Forum (excepts)

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – September 3, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum. This year, representatives of 35 countries applied to attend the forum. In total, delegations from 56 countries are taking part. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Park Geun-hye, Mr Shinzo Abe, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Vladivostok, to the second Eastern […]

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Russian Stocks Climb to Fresh Record as Ruble Gains on Oil, Fed

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – September 5, 2016) Russian stocks climbed to a record for the second day in a row and the ruble rallied with bonds as oil advanced and investors speculated U.S. rates will stay low, fueling demand for higher-yielding assets. The Micex Index closed up 0.7 percent to 2,017.38 after piercing the 2,000-point level for […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Bloomberg

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – September 5, 2016) Full text of Vladimir Putin’s interview to the international media company Bloomberg has been published. The interview was recorded on September 1, 2016, in Vladivostok. John Micklethwait: Mr President, thank you very much for speaking to Bloomberg. Here in Vladivostok we’re on the edge of the Pacific and on the eve of the second Eastern […]

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A Year After $18 Billion Debt Deal, Ukraine Is Hardly Better Off

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff – August 29, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-29/a-year-after-18-billion-debt-deal-ukraine-is-hardly-better-off] A year after Ukraine averted default by reaching an agreement with creditors to restructure $18 billion of debt, the country’s bond market is again beginning to veer off course. After outperforming all of emerging Europe in the first seven months of the year, some of those gains […]

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Russia Default Risk Falls to Lowest Since August Crimea Flare-Up

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – September 1, 2016) The cost of insuring Russian debt using credit-default swaps fell to a three-week low as tensions with Ukraine eased, offering relief from mounting political risk that had weighed on assets last month. Five-year CDS contracts declined seven basis points this week to 219, the lowest since Aug. 10 when Russian […]

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Russia’s Ruble Shakes Off August Blues With First Gain in Decade

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov – August 31, 2016) The Russian ruble headed for its first gain in August in a decade as a jump in oil prices and high domestic rates helped lure investors hunting returns in riskier emerging-market assets. The currency of the world’s biggest energy exporter traded little changed at 65.24 against the dollar by 3:02 […]

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Russia’s Economy at Risk of Delayed Recovery After Crimea Flareup

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andre Tartar, Anna Andrianova – August 28, 2016) The recent flare up over Crimea may have just delayed Russia’s economic recovery. After President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of plotting terrorist attacks on the Black Sea peninsula this month, the chance that Western countries will scrap economic sanctions against Russia has declined, according to a Bloomberg survey […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Ukraine and Russia Need Each Other” – Nicolai Petro/Russian Politics

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Ukraine needs ….  the restoration of those economic ties with Russia that clearly benefit the Ukrainian economy, at least until Ukraine develops stable alternative markets. …. a stop gap measure needed to stop the hemorrhaging of resources, manpower, and capital, and to win Ukraine time and breathing space for economic reform …. Nor do I see it as a matter […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

Sberbank File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – August 4, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref to discuss the bank’s results for the last year, the situation on the housing mortgage market, and financial support measures for small businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, I know that the bank’s work has been not […]

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Vladimir Putin Is His Economy’s Worst Enemy

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – July 27, 2016 – Editorial) Russian President Vladimir Putin urgently needs to revive his country’s economy. His greatest obstacle will be himself. While Americans argue about the extent of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election, Putin is battling a recession at home. To that end, he has recently focused on the ruble’s exchange rate: A […]

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Hybrid Business — The Risks In The Kremlin’s Weaponization Of The Economy

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Commentary: Mark Galeotti, Anna Arutunyan – July 20, 2016) Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence. Anna Arutunyan is a Moscow-based journalist and writer, author of The Putin Mystique. “How many divisions does the pope have?” Josef Stalin was meant to have […]

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Putin Debt Binge Indulged While Russia Looks Good Next to Europe

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov, Natasha Doff – July 20, 2016) No one’s complaining about record debt in Russia next year as an influx of foreign investors helps the government borrow its way out of recession. The Finance Ministry plans to quadruple domestic debt issuance to $20 billion in 2017 to fund a growing budget shortfall and avoid depleting […]

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Putin Isn’t About to Let Go of the Crown Jewels After Alrosa

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andrey Biryukov – July 12, 2016) Hatched in harsh economic times, Russia’s latest wave of privatization is off to a mixed start, and a sequel is by no means guaranteed. The sale of a 10.9 percent stake in Alrosa PJSC was the biggest divestment of a state asset since the government reduced its stake […]

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Russia’s Savior From Oil’s Drop Is Now Snuffing Out Recovery

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – July 6, 2016) Russia is finding the flip side of a flexible currency less and less appealing. A free-floating ruble, its antidote to the crash in oil prices, is now working against an economy mired in the second year of recession. As crude soared by more than a third in March and April, […]

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Here’s What Putin Wants From Central Bank as Elections Near

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 5, 2016) Helping your president win elections doesn’t have to compromise a central bank’s independence, at least not in Russia. Monetary policy is aligning with politics before Vladimir Putin’s biggest test at the ballot box since he returned to the presidency in 2012. By claiming the upper hand in the […]

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Russia Seeks to Reassure Over Brexit Volatility

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Daniel Schearf – June 29, 2016) As Britain and Europe struggle to come to terms with the British vote in favor of leaving the European Union, financial markets are roiling across the globe, including in Russia. Even before the vote for a British EU exit, the head of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, warned that […]

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Russian markets rode out Brexit volatility fairly smoothly – Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. June 30 (Interfax) – Russian markets made it through the surge in volatility caused by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union fairly smoothly, Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said at a financial conference on Thursday. “Speaking about Brexit, in or estimate its direct influence on the Russian financial system and economy will be fairly limited. We’ve […]

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Moscow a safe haven? Brexit erodes perceptions of political risk

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – NATASHA DOFF, KSENIA GALOUCHKO – June 28, 2016) Britain’s vote to quit the European Union has flipped perceptions of global political risk on their head. Brazil’s new government and Russia’s isolation represent a buying opportunity for Europe’s biggest asset manager as political chaos across the continent erodes developed economies’ traditional haven status. Even before the Brexit […]

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Putin’s Reliance on American Commerce Has Never Been Greater

File Photo of Boeing 747, adapted from image at navy.mil

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – June 15, 2016) U.S. becomes Russia’s No. 5 partner as trade war hits EU worse Boeing, Cargill, Yum! lead U.S. companies expanding in Russia President Vladimir Putin loves to reel off statistics, but here’s one he may not trumpet at his annual investment forum in St. Petersburg this week: Russia’s reliance […]

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Sanctions agenda may be discussed during Putin-Juncker meeting at SPIEF

EU Map

(Interfax – June 14, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can touch on the issue of sanctions at their meeting planned during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said. “The agenda [of sanctions and countersanctions] will certainly be voiced, because, as we know, the issue of sanctions, […]

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Economy ministry expects rate cut to have moderate impact, sees room for further cut

Central Bank of Russia file photo

MOSCOW. June 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia’s decision on Friday to lower its key interest rate to 10.5% from 11% will have a positive, but “fairly moderate” impact on the economy, and there is still room for a further rate cut, a spokesman for the Economic Development Ministry told Interfax. “This decision will have a positive impact, […]

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New Bill Forces Russian Companies to Disclose Owner Information

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 8, 2016) Russia’s State Duma has passed a new bill obliging companies to disclose information on their beneficiaries at the request of the authorities, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday. The bill was prepared as part of the country’s push to improve economic transparency and decrease the use of offshore holdings. Russian President Vladimir […]

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RBTH: Russian business repatriates money from offshore zones

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Russian entrepreneurs have decided to bring their money back home from offshore havens. Statistics show that the largest amounts have returned to Russia from the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda. Additionally, $1 billion or more has entered Russia from such countries as Germany, France and the UK. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – […]

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Why is Russia borrowing money on the foreign markets?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The Russian Finance Ministry has issued 10-year Eurobonds worth $1.75 billion with an annual yield of 4.75 percent. What is Moscow hoping to achieve with the issue, who has lent money to Russia, and how likely are they to get their money back? These and other questions are answered here. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH […]

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Pravda.ru: West shocked to discover revival of Russian economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Pravda.ru – Lyuba Lulko – May 26, 2016) Western media have started to notice positive changes in the Russian economy. Russia is an attractive country for foreign investors. Domestic investors have been showing signs of life as well – they were ready to buy the stock of Russian Eurobonds. Sanctions no longer frighten people, because there are long-term attractive projects […]

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Putin’s Longstanding Plan for Long-Term Confrontation with the West Being Implemented Ever More Rapidly, Illarionov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 28, 2016) For the last decade, Vladimir Putin has pursued a plan to isolate his country from the outside world by pursuing rearmament and confrontation with the West, Andrey Illarionov says. Now, there is evidence that the Kremlin leader is stepping up his efforts I that direction even during the current […]

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Was Russia’s First Bond Sale in 3 Years a Success?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – May 26, 2016) [Chart here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/was-russias-first-bond-sale-in-3-years-a-success/570254.html] Bidding opened suddenly on the morning of May 23. After a three-year absence from international markets, and with very little warning, Russia announced it wished to borrow billions of dollars. The Finance Ministry sought to help finance a yawning budget deficit caused by the low price […]

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Russia Hails Eurobond Triumph as Traders Ask: Who Bought It?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov, Lyubov Pronina – May 25, 2016) Russia hailed its sale of $1.75 billion of Eurobonds as a triumph in the face of sanctions and “unprecedented pressure” from U.S. and European Union governments. While Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the deal showed foreigners have “trust” in Russia, investors expressed concern the bond won’t be admitted […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Former U.S. diplomat criticizes Canada’s ‘weakness’ on Russia” [Michael McFaul] – The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

… Obama’s former ambassador to Russia says Canada is showing a ‘sign of weakness’ by not pushing ahead with a promised U.S.-style Magnitsky Act that would punish Russians deemed to be human-rights violators with visa bans and asset freezes. … McFaul, who served as the U.S. envoy to Moscow from 2012 to 2014 and before that was … Obama’s special […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘Anti-travelogue’ on Putin’s Russia wins £10,000 Ondaatje prize. Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev takes prize honouring writers who best ‘evoke the spirit of a place” – The Guardian

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

… Pomerantsev said he had been struck by the ‘state-reinforced psychology of the new Russia, the insistence that all identities are mutable, that nothing is true and everything is possible.’ Born in Ukraine and now living in London, Pomerantsev has worked as a journalist, film-maker and as a consultant for the EU and World Bank. * * * Judge and […]

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Interfax: Foreign investors believe in Russia’s prospects despite sanctions – Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – May 22, 2016) Foreign investors believe in the prospects of Russian economy and are setting up their productions here, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in the Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyev show on Rossiya 1 (VGTRK) television on May 22. “If you take a look at how many new plants are opening now [in the […]

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Is neoliberalism applicable to Russia? A response to Ilya Matveev; Attempts to call the Putin regime “neoliberal” get one fundamental thing wrong: capitalism doesn’t exist in Russia.

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anastasiya Ovsyannikova – May 20, 2016) Anastasiya Ovsyannikova is an economist and journalist. She has worked for F5 and Cityboom.ru, as well as Moscow’s Sakharov Center. oDR recently published an article by Ilya Matveev, “Russia, Inc”, which positioned neoliberalism as an organic part of the Putin regime. The intense discussion that followed brings us back to two central […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Excerpts: Medvedev at] The 6th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – May 18, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev attended a plenary session titled Trust in Law – Mechanism for Global Crisis Resolution. The St Petersburg International Legal Forum was launched in 2011 and is a major platform for dialogue between politicians, lawyers, economists and scientists who represent various economic and legal systems. The forum seeks to promote ways to modernise the […]

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Interfax: Lower key rate would not boost Russian economy – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – Lowering the key interest rate in current conditions would not result in growth for the real economy, Dmitry Tulin, first deputy governor of the Central Bank, said in the State Duma, during a discussion of the Central Bank’s annual report. “We take into consideration the factor of the impact of monetary policy on the state […]

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Panama Papers: Are Russian entrepreneurs actually moving back onshore?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The latest information published from the Panama Papers shows that some Russian billionaires began closing their offshore companies after the beginning of the governmental de-offshorization campaign in 2015. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – rbth.ru – May 16, 2016) According to the business newspaper RBK Daily, the expanded database of the so-called Panama Papers, published in May […]

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Hedge Funds Reap Big Rewards From Roller-Coaster Russian Markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – May 15, 2016) Russian assets, which are among the most volatile in the world, are bringing hedge fund managers the best returns in emerging markets. Funds with a geographical focus on the country have gained an average 29 percent since the start of 2015, more than any others geared toward major developing nations, […]

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Ukraine’s Free Trade Deal Was Just a Start

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 11, 2016) Ukraine’s free trade agreement with the European Union was so controversial that it caused the former Soviet republic’s break with Russia, which had opposed the closer ties with Europe. Several months in, it looks like the deal is benefiting the EU more than it is helping Ukraine. That doesn’t mean […]

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Russia Ratifies International Agreement on Financial Information Exchange

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 12, 2016) Russia has signed an international agreement on the exchange of financial information, state news agency TASS reported Thursday. The head of Russia’s Federal Taxation Service (FNS) Mikhail Mishustin said that Russia will join the global system of data exchange between tax authorities in different countries in 2018. “This will allow us to […]

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Putin’s Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eduard Gismatullin – April 27, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of realizing a decade-old dream: Russian oil priced in Russia. The nation’s largest commodity exchange, whose chairman is Putin ally Igor Sechin, is courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goal is to increase revenue from Urals crude […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy/DAVID FRANCIS, LARA JAKESA: “‘Sanctions Are a Failue…Let’s Admit That.’ With Europe debating re-opening economic ties to Russia, have U.S. sanctions on Moscow lost their teeth?”

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags » Read more

Interfax: Business confidence rises in Russian extractive, manufacturing sectors

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) – The business confidence index in the Russian extractive industry grew for the third straight month in April, while the index in the manufacturing sector also grew, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The business confidence index in the Russian extractive sector improved to minus (-) 2% in April, from -3% in March, -4% in […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Russia Grants Ukraine’s Request to Delay Eurobond Case Defense”

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Russia has agreed to allow Ukraine extra time to file its defence with a British court … Russia filed a lawsuit … demanding repayment of the $3 billion Eurobond …. Ukraine insists Russia must accept restructuring terms agreed with other foreign creditors. … Ukraine had until March 19 to file its defence although it was granted an extension until April […]

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Putin Swears Off Stimulus as Policy Mix Moves Toward ‘Orthodoxy’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – April 17, 2016) It was by no means the showstopper of President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in with Russians, complete as it was with digs at the U.S. and justice dispensed on live television. Two days after Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina urged reforms and warned against the “big illusion” of using inflation […]

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Were the Panama Papers Planted? Who Cares.

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 15, 2016) Last week, a respected Russia scholar in the U.S. speculated that the Kremlin might be behind the so-called Panama Papers, the big dump of data about offshore accounts that has implicated several countries’ officials in shady dealings. And on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia blamed the U.S. for the […]

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