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    Russia remains 'haven' of stability amid global financial crisis

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    Russia's finance minister said on Wednesday that Russia was a safe haven for investors and the country's economy remained stable amid slumping global stock markets.

    DAVOS, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's finance minister said on Wednesday that Russia was a safe haven for investors and the country's economy remained stable amid slumping global stock markets.

    World stock exchanges have seen heightened volatility in recent weeks following the financial turmoil provoked by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis and fresh signs of a recession in the world's largest economy.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum that opened in the Swiss resort of Davos earlier in the day, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin said, "In the past few years Russia has managed to achieve economic stability piling up substantial international reserves, which play the role of an airbag. I believe Russia will soon be the focus of attention as a haven of stability."

    The official said he had held talks with a number of international investors at the forum, who shared their plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the Russian economy.

    Kudrin also said that Russia could offer financial assistance to the international community to help calm plunging global stock markets.

    "As a country with substantial reserves, Russia could help soothe the global crisis," the Russian minister said.

    The largest U.S. banks said earlier they would seek to raise equity abroad to shore up their liquidity.

    Russia's Stabilization Fund, set up to accrue surplus revenue from high world oil prices, stood at 3.85 trillion rubles ($157 billion) on January 1, 2008, compared to 2.35 trillion rubles ($89.1 billion) a year earlier.

    The Russian Trading System (RTS) index gained 1.83% during Wednesday morning's trade to 2,003.65 points, regaining most of the losses sustained in the past two days when it plunged 7.38% from Friday's close to below 2,000 on Monday afternoon, and fell another 5.83% to below 1,900 points on Tuesday morning.

    However, the index was given a boost by the United States Federal Reserve's decision to slash its interest rate by three quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday, an emergency move to avoid a U.S. economic recession.

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