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The Russian Evolution

August 30, 2012

 I think Russia has also evolved a great deal as an investment destination in the past two decades and holds great potential, although there is still more work to be done to open the markets and instill investor confidence.

-Mark Mobius, executive chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group

It might be tempting to say "everything old is new again" in Russia, given the return of Vladimir Putin to the presidency after a four-year hiatus, an interesting development in the country's political evolution. I think Russia has also evolved a great deal as an investment destination in the past two decades and holds great potential, although there is still more work to be done to open the markets and instill investor confidence.

Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of land mass (17 million sq. km),1covers nine time zones and boasts a rich and ancient history, abundant natural resources and a resilient and well-educated population. The literacy rate is near 100% and there are more than 1,000 institutions of secondary education attended by more than 8 million students.2 Russia has often been characterized by its harsh climate, and its economy has weathered equally harsh challenges throughout its history. I'll save the history lessons for the books, but from an economic standpoint the past two decades have been characterized by periods of growth and crisis leading to progressive steps forward-then back.

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