Russia is far more exposed to market fluctuations than many countries, since it owns a majority stake in a number of the country’s largest companies. Gazprom, the energy concern that is Russia’s largest company by market capitalization, is majority-owned by the Russian Federation. At the same time, Gazprom’s shares are listed on the London stock exchange and are traded over the counter as American depositary receipts in the United States as well as on the Berlin and Paris exchanges. Over half of its shareholders are American, according to J. P. Morgan Securities. And the custodian bank for its depository receipts is the Bank of New York Mellon.
Many Russian companies and banks are fully integrated into the global financial system. This week, Glencore Xstrata, the mining giant based in Switzerland, was in the middle of a roughly $1 billion debt-to-equity refinancing deal with the Russian oil company Russneft. Glencore said it expected to complete the deal despite the crisis. Glencore’s revenue last year was substantially larger than the entire gross domestic product of Ukraine, which was $176 billion, according to the World Bank.
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The old Soviet Union, in stark contrast, was all but impervious to foreign economic or business pressure, thanks in part to an ideological commitment to self-sufficiency.