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Russian PM Says 'Junk' Credit Rating Driven By Politics

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says an international agency's decision to cut Russia's credit rating to junk level was driven by politics.

Medvedev spoke a day after Standard & Poor's (S&P) put Russia's credit rating below investment grade for the first time in a decade.

The downgrade reflected grim forecasts for the energy-reliant economy following a steep decline in oil prices and the imposition of Western sanctions that have limited access to global markets for Russia and its companies.

Medvedev said that "these ratings that people talk a lot about are obviously a political instrument in its pure form."

The Russian ruble, which lost nearly half its value against the U.S. dollar last year, was relatively steady in trading on January 27, at about 67.7 to the dollar.

Analysts said the ruble did not fall sharply because the rating cut had been anticipated.

Based on reporting by RIA and Interfax