Who are the BRICS?

The BRICS countries, five nations grouped together because of their burgeoning economies, are in the spotlight this week as their leaders meet in China.

Russia

Russia’s transition in the 1990s from a centrally planned economy to a free market was not smooth. Inadequate fiscal reforms and borrowing led to a financial crisis in 1998 that wiped out much of the foreign investment it gained. The situation was exacerbated by dropping prices for its major exports (oil and minerals) and spillover from the Asian financial crisis.

The country bounced back quickly, registering about 7 percent growth for the next several years – until the global financial crisis, which hit Russia hard once again and prompted a stock market collapse. In 2009, economic growth was a whopping negative 7.9 percent. Today, a rapid turnaround has brought growth back up to 3.8 percent in 2010.

Russia’s economy, the world’s tenth largest, is driven by oil and natural gas exports, as well as timber, furs, minerals, and metals.

Source: US State Department

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