Is Vimpelcom Racing To The Bottom?

Investors may flee as it slashes prices--and profits

Dmitry B. Zimin, 67, a prize-winning engineer, has always lived on his smarts. Ten years ago, he was a key developer of Russia's anti-missile defense technology. Since 1992, he has been putting his knowledge to use as the founder and chief executive of Moscow-based Vimpelcommunications, the country's fastest-growing cellular-phone company and the first Russian company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Starting out far behind the competition, he has survived like a good chess player--by plotting several moves ahead of his opponents. "Brains are everything," he says.

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