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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Central Bank Gets New Monetary Policy Chief

VedomostiAlexei Ulyukayev
First Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev is heading to the Central Bank to oversee monetary policy as first deputy chairman, a move some observers say signals a shift in central banking policies.

Ulyukayev will replace Oleg Vyugin, who was named the nation's new top market regulator last month after presiding over a record buildup of the nation's hard currency and gold reserves and a gradual strengthening of the ruble.

Some reports suggest that Ulyukayev will change the composition of the dollar-heavy reserves in favor of the euro and other European currencies, an issue over which Ulyukayev and Vyugin disagreed about in the past, according to Kommersant.

Many economists, including former finance minister Mikhail Zadornov, praised Ulyukayev's appointment. "He will strictly maintain the goal of 10 percent inflation and will hold back the appreciation of the ruble against the basket of currencies," Zadornov told Vedomosti.

Others, however, pointed out that unlike his predecessor, Ulyukayev only has general policy experience and has not dealt in macroeconomic issues specifically. "Besides having your theory down, you need practice -- to know how the whole macroeconomic system would react," said Yevgeny Gavrilenkov, chief economist at Troika Dialog.

Prior to joining the Finance Ministry in 2000, Ulyukayev, 48, was deputy head of the Institute of Transitional Economy, a government-connected think tank chaired by Yegor Gaidar.

In another significant development, the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's operations with financial institutions in Russia, Dmitry Tulin, will move to the Central Bank to oversee the banking industry for the sector regulator.

Tulin, also 48, a former chairman of state-owned Vneshtorgbank, has been at the Central Bank before as deputy Central Bank chairman in 1991-94. He was also Russia's representative to the IMF in 1994-96.

"It would be hard to think of an official better qualified than Tulin to clean up the banking sector," investment bank UFG said in a note to clients.