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Capital Markets

Russian markets respond well to post-election moves

Investors search for regional opportunities.

As widely expected, the pro-president Vladimir Putin United Russia party won a landslide victory in the early December parliamentary elections, securing an absolute and constitutional majority with more than two-thirds of the votes. In the wake of the crushing election victory, Putin nominated his first deputy prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, chairman of Russian gas monopolist Gazprom, as his preferred candidate for the presidential elections scheduled for March 2008.

The announcement put an end to months of speculation about who would be Putin’s handpicked successor and was warmly greeted by the Russian markets given the widely held perception that Medvedev is a more pro-business candidate than former defence minister Ivan Ivanov, who was also seen as a potential successor.

As Euromoney went to press, United Russia was set to confirm Medvedev as its official candidate for the presidency, widely seen as a mere formality following Putin’s personal recommendation.

Although the country’s equity market remains vulnerable to changes in investor sentiment in the wake of the problems in the US sub-prime mortgage market and the associated global credit crunch, the Moscow exchange recorded historical highs almost daily in December on the back of the increased political certainty ahead of the March presidential poll.

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