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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Looking Back ... May 16 to 22

- The week began with traders taking a positive view of President Vladimir Putin's decision to split the federation's territory into seven districts, saying it would likely facilitate restructuring of the telecommunications industry.

Until recently, the telecoms sector was split into a large number of small companies and this had a major negative effect on its attractiveness to investors, they said.

- The nation's oil producers looked set to reap more windfall profits as oil prices hit $30 per barrel in the United States and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries appeared indifferent to calls to raise output.

The soaring prices are welcome news to the government, which is heavily dependent on income from tariffs on oil exports.

- Calling the decision a sign of its renewed confidence in the country, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced Monday it was extending a $150 million loan to oil giant LUKoil to provide working capital for its various projects.

The three-year loan, secured by the assignment of crude-oil export contracts, is the second-largest deal ever here for the EBRD.

- However, global diamond giant De Beers decided to bail out of its only investment project in the country, citing local difficulties and the unfriendly investment climate in the diamond industry.

The firm's decision also could have been influenced by the higher operating costs of its venture to develop the Lomonosov diamond deposit in the Arkhangelsk region.

- Mikhail Kasyanov became prime minister Wednesday. On Thursday, Alexei Kudrin was named finance minister, German Gref was named economic strategy and trade minister and Gennady Bukayev was appointed tax minister.

- Lithuanian oil concern Mazheikhiu Nafta said Thursday it had reached a long-awaited crude supply pact with LUKoil that would stabilize operations at its economically crucial refinery.