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Russian President Calls For Joint International Action On Financial Crisis


President Dmitry Medvedev records his video at the Kremlin.

President Dmitry Medvedev records his video at the Kremlin.

In a short video clip posted on the Kremlin's website, President Dmitry Medvedev has called for joint international action to tackle the global financial crisis, which started in the United States and has since spread to the rest of the world, including Russia.

The clip shows Medvedev working at his computer. The Russian president is said to be fond of new technology. But he said the video was a first for him:

"This is the first time I'm issuing a statement through my website. I would like to talk about some serious pressing issues facing the world," Medvedev said in the clip.

Russian markets have been particularly badly hit by the financial crisis sweeping the globe, suffering their worst-ever one-day losses, and trading has been halted again for the second day running.

This week, Medvedev said, he would present his view on how to tackle the crisis in Evian, France, where European leaders and academics are gathering for discussions on a range of global issues:

"The problems of international politics, the crisis of the world financial system call for urgent joint actions," he said. "It is absolutely obvious that now is the time for new decisions."

Medvedev did not elaborate on what he saw as potential solutions. But afterward, following a meeting at the Kremlin, he announced up to $36 billion in credit to bolster the country's banks.

Falling Markets

It follows the unprecedented $120 billion bailout of the financial markets announced just three weeks ago. That, however, failed to restore confidence. On October 6, there was panic when Russian stocks went into freefall as part of a global rout.

The dollar-denominated RTS plunged 19 percent, and is now languishing 65 percent below its peak in May. And on October 7 the markets, RTS and the ruble-denominated MICEX, remained closed for several hours.

Russia's markets have been hit hard by the global financial crisis, falling oil prices, and August's conflict with Georgia.

High oil prices had fueled Russia's economic boom, and the worry is their fall, to around $90 a barrel from nearly $150 in July, will severely dampen growth.

Adding to jitters was the news on October 3 that Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska had to sell his 20 percent stake in a Canadian car-parts maker to creditors.

But even as it is being buffeted by the financial storm, Russia has also stepped in to save other victims. The central bank of Iceland -- perhaps worst-hit by the crisis -- has said Russia was lending it $5.4 billion to help the island's efforts to prevent national bankruptcy.

with agency reports
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