Of course, government help for Russian companies (and indeed for some Western companies) is not new.
"There is more top-down intervention going on, even in normal times, than you see on the surface," Gallo said.
"It is an economy dominated by personalized relationships and top-down alliances. The difficulties of such an environment are multiplied when there's a shrinking liquidity situation and the need to repay foreign-denominated debts."
This state of affairs has driven some Russians to the streets, with protests in Moscow earlier this week. Yet most commentators believe the chances of wide-scale uprising are slim.
"Most Russians are heavily dependent on the state for their livelihood, and the cost of protesting (in terms of financial and gaol penalties) has gone up," Gallo pointed out.
- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle