After more than a decade of negotiations to enter the WTO, Russia is now waiting only for the United States to OK its membership bid. Last week Russia made an important concession on the issue of financial institutions.
After a number of smaller banks went bust or lost their licenses, Russia's banking system hit fresh problems last week when Guta Bank -- ranked No. 22 in the country by assets -- said it was unable to meet payments, including on retail accounts.
In an effort to ensure smooth debt payments in the future and enforce budget discipline, the Russian government established a stabilization fund, or financial reserve, last year to hold excess budget revenues from high world oil prices.