Russia's gold reserves rose to 1,944 tons as of June 2018, up from less than 500 tons just a decade ago. The holdings, amounting to over 17 percent of Russia's total foreign reserves, were shored up in part by offloading some $77 billion worth worth of its US Treasury bills, bonds and notes over the last six months or so.
In recent years, the central banks of a number of countries have rejected the long-accepted practice of keeping their gold abroad. Most recently, the Turkish Central Bank began withdrawing its gold from the US Federal Reserve and shipping it back to Ankara at an accelerated pace. Before that, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Venezuela made similar moves, repatriating all or part of their physical gold reserves from New York or other Western Central Banks. Hungary and Belgium have also mulled bringing their gold home for safekeeping.
Russia won't face any headaches in repatriating any gold because its reserves are already held in the country. Nearly two-thirds of Russia's stocks of the precious metal are held at the Central Bank's repository in Moscow, shrouded in secrecy until recently. In 2017, a Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist became the first to get a glimpse of the Moscow storage facility, with rows and rows of containers with 20 gold bars between 12 and 13 kilograms apiece shown in a 17,000-square-meter warehouse.
Золотой запас России. Главное золотохранилище Центробанка pic.twitter.com/k3Uz6D4nTq— ПРАВДИВАЯ ПРАВДА (@Pravdiva_pravda) 5 января 2018 г.
Russia's gold reserves. The Central Bank's Central Gold Depository.
The rest of Russia's gold is stored in St. Petersburg, and the city of Ekaterinburg in the Russian Urals.
Russia is one of the world's top gold producers. Over two-thirds of Russia's gold is mined in the Far Eastern and Siberian regions of Amur, Khabarovsk, Magadan, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Yakutia; much of the rest is mined in the Urals, Karelia and Murmansk. At present, geologists estimate that Russia has about 12,500 tons of recoverable gold that's yet to be mined.