Russia’s central bank wants to increase the share of gold in its international reserves, First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said in an interview published in Izvestia today. His comments were confirmed by a Bank Rossii official. Here's the Bloomberg link: Link
In January, the latest month for which data is available, the Russian Central bank increased its gold holdings by 800,000 ozs (approx. 22 tonnes), or 4.1%, to 20.5 million ounces (approx. 582 tons). This represents roughly 5% of Russia's foreign reserves. Typical Central Bank gold holdings globally are around 10% of reserves. When the world was on the gold standard, Central Banks held 40% of their reserves in gold.
Russia's gold holdings have increased 57% since Jan 2007 and 22% from a year ago. There is no doubt that Russia is seeking to rapidy accumulate gold. Seems to be an Eastern Hemisphere trend. Here's is graphic portrayal of the growth in Russia's gold reserves thru November 2009. This is from Richard Nachbar's http://www.coinexpert.com/:
On another note, the ECB showed no change in its gold holdings for the 4th week in a row. The ECB has been a steady seller of gold for over a decade and this is the first time in the 11-year history of the Washington Agreement, which regulates ECB gold selling, that the ECB has remained dormant with respect to selling gold.