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American financier George Soros is guided by purely commercial rather than political considerations in his plans to invest in Russia
American financier George Soros is guided by purely commercial rather than political considerations in his plans to invest in Russia, a finance official in the country's lower house said Monday. Media reports have said the U.S. billionaire plans to invest over $1 billion in Russia, and will buy a Russian bank to conduct transactions. "He [Soros] has purely commercial considerations," said Pavel Medvedev, first deputy head of the Duma Committee for Credit Organizations and Financial Markets. "It is profitable to invest in Russia now, and Western investors realize this." The Soros Foundation came to Russia during the perestroika period in 1987 to promote so-called "civil society." The foundation's offices were shut down in November 2003 for allegedly "meddling in Russian domestic policy," as described by Russian officials. Some officials in Russia suspected the Soros Foundation of organizing the "rose revolution" in Georgia in November 2003 and a similar "orange revolution" in Ukraine the following year, which brought pro-Western leaderships to power. Foundation representatives connected the move to their sharp criticism of the Yukos affair. Medvedev said Soros's investment in Russia should no longer be feared. "It is unlikely to be dangerous," he said, adding that bank supervision had substantially improved in the past four years, and that it now prevented even Russian oligarchs from influencing politics, as they did under President Boris Yeltsin. Medvedev said he understands Soros's commercial interest in Russia because "the investment vector is currently aimed at Russia rather than the West." Medvedev's deputy, Anatoly Aksakov, said Soros's $1 billion investment plan for Russia was too insignificant to make any difference for Russia's politics. "A billion dollars for Russia is an ordinary sum," he said. "One billion is not enough to organize an 'orange revolution,'" Aksakov said but urged vigilance. Russian media said Soros Fund LLC. would like to buy Russia's private Housing Finance Bank, but the bank has ruled out the possibility. "Nobody is selling the bank. The bank has its own serious concept for development, and its owners are not interested in selling," bank spokeswoman Mariya Dovgaya said.
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