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January 30th, 2008
The former will start off with some $139 billion and will perform essentially the same function as the old Stabilization Fund. That is, it will accumulate energy profits and hold them in conservative investments to buffer the economy if energy prices fall. The National Welfare Fund, which will hold $11 billion, will be used to fund shortfalls in the pension system. In addition, some funds from it have already been allocated to the State Investment Fund, the state's Development Bank, and the state Nanotechnology Corporation.
The Stabilization Fund was created at the urging of then-presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov, Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, and then-Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref. Since that time, Kudrin's ministry has been in charge of the fund and has doggedly insisted that spending its wealth domestically would spur inflation. As a result, the only significant spending from the fund since its creation has been to pay off some $80 billion in Soviet-era debt, something that has been touted as one of the main achievements of Vladimir Putin's presidency.
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