Russian press review, 15.01.07

The Russian press looks at the investment fund set up by Venezuela and Iran, and ratings of the most influential Russian politicians for 2006. It also comments on growth of demand for the Russian rouble in Europe.

Vedomosti comments on the recent Venezuelan and Iranian decision to set up a joint investment fund, that President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela described as a potential tool of liberation from the “US imperialism”. The paper believes it is the need for external investment that is dictating the need for an economic rather than only political anti-American union.

According to the daily, Russia in the long run may find itself facing the temptation to become part of a parallel economy to be based not so much on the economic interests of its participants, but on the tactical and political chances of attracting investments.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta carries ratings of the most influential Russian politicians for 2006. As before, President Vladimir Putin is in the lead followed closely by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and First Vice-Premier Dmitry Medvedev. The next three choices are Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin, Economic Development Minister German Gref, and Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov.

Novie Izvestia reports the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Germany's KfW floated 2-billion-rouble worth of Eurobonds on the European market. Experts say this basically means that the Russian rouble is being recognised as a world currency. According to the paper, European economists note a constant growth of demand for the rouble.

Izvestia looks at a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Fund showing that Russian interest in the U.S. currency has considerably declined by comparison with previous years. By contrast, the Russian rouble's credibility has increased 1,150% and not only among the older generation. The survey shows the majority of young Russians aged from 18 to 35 years old trust the rouble. The dollar is popular only among 8% of those polled.

Moskovsky Komsomolets interviews Russia's Minister of Agriculture, Aleksey Gordeev, who says the government has launched a project intended to make Russia regain its status as a great world hunting power. The project is aimed at receiving economic benefits comparable to, if not greater, than those of the United States. According to Gordeev, with a territory three times smaller than Russia's, the U.S. makes up to $US60 BLN a year from its hunting industry.