Financial flight in Russia fueled by election fears

President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during his first full press conference as Russian president at the Skolkovo centre outside Moscow on May 18, 2011.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Election season is getting underway in Russia, and businesses are becoming nervous. President Dmitry Medvedev said this week he wants to keep his job but then there's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who also could run. And uncertainty has investors fleeing the country.

From Moscow, Peter van Dyk reports.


PETER VAN DYK: All the political uncertainty is sending money out of Russia's economy. In fact, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow, John Beyrle, told a session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that everyone should be worried by the $30 billion that's already left the country this year.

JOHN BEYRLE: That figure should alarm, should frighten everyone in this room.

U.S. bankers say some investors are worried the elections could bring change. The head of Goldman Sachs in Russia says it's told its clients not to wait if they are worried by the uncertainty. Analysts say businesses and rich businesspeople are putting money where it's safe.

As for the political uncertainty, Medvedev says a decision will come soon. But it can only be made with Putin. The prime minister is seen as the real power in Russia, and he seems to want to wait.

In Moscow, I'm Peter van Dyk for Marketplace.

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