Russia's central bank criticised

Russia's central bank criticised

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One of the most powerful figures in Russian industry has spoken out, to Business Daily, criticising Russia's central bank for allowing companies to take on heavy borrowings.

Vladimir Yakunin is the head of Russian Railways, the state-owned monolith which employs more than a million people and provides the arteries of the nation's freight industry.

He has always been said to be very close to Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin - and at one stage he was spoken of as a possible successor to Mr Putin as president.

As one of the world's largest energy producers, Russia has been damaged by the mammoth fall in oil prices, its companies are saddled with debts and the numbers of jobless are growing.

There's been growing criticism of the way the authorities have handled Russia's currency, the rouble - and the many billions of dollars spent on slowing its decline.

There have been protests about economic mismanagement, and fears are rising about political unrest. Four regional governors got the sack this week, apparently for mishandling the crisis.

So are there parts of the Russian state which have bungled attempts to tackle the situation?

Business Daily's Lesley Curwen spoke to Vladimir Yakunin and asked him how much of a shock it had been to watch a booming economy go into reverse.

Listen Hear Vladimir Yakunin's interview in full (7 mins 20 secs)

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First broadcast on Business Daily on 20 February 2009