RUSSIA has added more gold to its official reserves than any other nation over the last decade, according to a report by news agency Bloomberg.
Data from the International Monetary Fund show Russia's central bank has added 570 tonnes of gold bullion to its reserves over the past ten years, around 25% more than second-placed China.
"The more gold a country has, the more sovereignty it will have if there's a cataclysm with the Dollar, the Euro, the Pound or any other reserve currency," says Evgeny Fedorov, a member of president Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.
"Putin's gold strategy fits in with his resource nationalism, statist agenda," adds Tim Ash, London-based head of emerging market research at Standard Bank.
"It's kind of a defensive play, but it worked, right?"
Tracking official sector gold buying is subject to imprecision. China's official gold buying has tended to go unreported by Beijing for many years; the last time China reported its official gold reserves was 2009. Much of China's gold buying is done by its State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which does not report its buying to the IMF.
Russia's gold reserves are made up of bullion held by the Central Bank of Russia and the State Repository of Precious Metals and Gemstones, an arm of the Finance Ministry known as the Gokhran that traces its roots back to 1719 and Peter the Great.
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