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The Russian ruble could become a stable currency within
The Russian ruble could become a stable currency within the next four to five years, the finance minister told an economic forum in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, on Friday.

"The ruble could become a stable currency within the next four to five years," Alexei Kudrin said, adding the goal was achievable during two presidential terms.

First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the front-runner in the March 2 presidential polls, said at the forum that turning the ruble into a regional reserve currency would be one of the main goals of his presidency should he be elected.

He said last July that as global economies became saturated by the dollar, countries were susceptible to a dollar crisis; Medvedev therefore proposed establishing reserve regional currencies.

The Central Bank of Russia has been touting ruble assets as an investment tool for the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of former Soviet republics, for the last several years.

Central Bank Deputy Chairman Konstantin Korishchenko said in 2006 that some CIS central banks had started including ruble-denominated instruments in the structure of their foreign exchange reserves.

The Central Bank of Russia attributes the ruble's potential attractiveness to its stable exchange rate, moderate inflation rates, the removal of restrictions on currency transactions with non-residents and Russia's large trade turnover with CIS member states.

Over the last several months the value of the dollar, the main global currency, has plummeted to record lows, prompting many central banks to reduce their share of dollar assets in foreign exchange reserves.

But Kazakhstan, whose economy is second largest among CIS states after Russia, is not rushing to adopt the ruble as a reserve currency. Prime Minister Karim Masimov said his country would wait for Russia to achieve its ambitious economic objectives.


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