Following the break-up of BPC, Vladislav Baumgertner, Uralkali's chief executive, was arrested in Belarus last month following a meeting with Belaruskali and has languished in jail for weeks.
To compound matters, Belarus has since removed export duties on potash.
(Read more: Fertilizer stocks fall)
All this has sent the price of potash tumbling, down 10-15 percent on the start of the year. Governments like India, Brazil and China negotiate several big deals a year, and early signs are that they will be pitching for lower prices again in the next big round of buying, for the first half of next year.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted a price of as low as €310 ($417) per ton in Europe, down from 365 euros, below $370 per ton in Brazil, and as low as $300 per ton in China – as a result, Uralkali's revenues have tumbled.
One casualty of the dispute could be the Uralkali's' billionaire Kerimov, who as well as investing heavily in Uralkali has also sunk large amounts of money into his local football team, Anzhi Mahachkala.
"He seems to have put too much of his own capital into Uralkali and may not have the capital to keep it going indefinitely," one source in the potash industry said.
Russian bankers are understood to be discreetly sounding out buyers for his stake, according to a source close to the deal who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The Kremlin has so far remained relatively tight-lipped on the situation, but First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit on Monday: "It is a company that could be bought by a huge number of Russian and foreign investors," suggesting that the Russian government is open to a sale.
The most likely buyer for Kerimov's 21.75 percent Uralkali stake, believed to be worth around $3.7 billion, could be Putin ally Vladimir Kogan, known as "Putin's banker", according to sources in Russia.
(Read more: Vladimir Putin)
There are also signs that Baumgertner's situation could improve ahead of a meeting between Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko and Russia's President Vladimir Putin this week. Lukashenko told reporters that he may be able to return to Russia.
In this game of chess, there have already been several knight's moves, but no checkmate.
- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle. Follow her on Twitter: @cboylecnbc