MOSCOW: Russia, the world's second-largest oil-exporting nation after Saudi Arabia, has been quietly preparing to switch trading in Russian Ural Blend oil, the country's primary export, from the dollar to the ruble. But the change, if it comes, is still some time off, industry analysts and officials said.
The Russian effort began modestly this month, with trading in refined products for the domestic market.
Still, the effort to squeeze the dollar out of Russian oil sales marks another project with swagger and ambition by the Kremlin, which has already wielded its energy wealth to assert influence in Eastern Europe and in former Soviet states.
"They are serious," said Yaroslav Lissovolik, the chief economist at Deutsche Bank in Moscow. "This is something they are giving priority to."