Diamond Demand Rises; Will Russia Play Spoiler?

The normally talkative diamond world has been quiet when it comes to predicting business for 1996. But leaders agree on one point: much of the outlook depends on a new marketing contract between De Beers and Russia. Both sides have maintained an official silence on negotiations for the new contract, which would replace one that expired in December (past press time for this issue). But De Beers executives were optimistic a new contract will be signed soon or that the old one will be extended while negotiations continue. If the sides reach an impasse and break off their relationship, one of the first noticeable effects will be a reduction in De Beers' $180 million-plus advertising program, which is supported by producers in the cartel's network. The biggest uncertainty in negotiations is Russia's diamond policy itself. Evgeny Bytchkov, who chairs Komdragmet, the state committee on prec
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