Russian Government Invests in Domestic Securities

It was one of those rare moments that one of Vladimir Putin’s people humiliated him in public. It was on May 23, 2007, when Putin “suggested studying the possibility of investing funds received from sales of Russian energy in Russian blue chip stocks, in light of the stock market’s stagnation during the first quarter of 2007.” At the time, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin could barely hide his shock, and immediately expressed his strong disagreement with Putin’s suggestion, arguing that such investments would hike inflation and trigger stock market speculation. Kudrin has come under fire several times now over the management of the stabilization fund, and it is interesting to see the following announcement in light of the recent release of his #2 man Sergei Storchak. And low and behold, today Forbes reports…

Russia’s National Wealth Fund will invest $6.9 billion, or nearly a seventh of its total reserves, in buying domestic stocks, Pyotr Kazakevich, the head of the Finance Ministry’s debt department, said Monday. From Tuesday onwards the fund will be able to deposit up to 625 billion rubles ($24.0 billion) in state-owned Vneshekonombank, better known as VEB, which would be the government’s agent. The fund has previously invested in currency deposits and top-rated sovereign bonds outside Russia, such as U.S. government Treasuries. “The first part of this money has been transferred to VEB. From this day, they have the right to invest,” a spokesman for the Finance Ministry told Forbes.com. “I think that this investment will be made in five years or more.”