RUSSIA has become a world-class saver. So much gold has piled up in its central bank that Russia surpassed China last year to become the world's fifth-largest holder of gold.

The International Monetary Fund often has to badger developing nations to bulk up foreign currency reserves. Russia has $472 billion in reserves, more than country's combined public and foreign debt of $453 billion and nearly three times what I.M.F recommends.

Economists don't consider either of these eye popping sums of savings a good thing. They reflect, in part, how investment has lagged in Russia and how Western sanctions have dulled its economy.

But the Iode is also making for an  odd back-to-the future  moment of state-directed economic activity as Russia shifts policy and aims to spend about $100 billion on big infrastructure projects.

The new drive, promoted last month at an economic forum paradoxically named for Yegor T. Gaidar, a former prime minister who championed privatization, is a full-throttle build-and-spend effort to rev, Russia's way to stable growth.

Oligarchs are among the business leaders who have been publicly ordered to rally, with moneyed enthusiasm, behind the plan.

Known by the mouthful National Goals and Strategic Objective of the Russian Federation Until 2024, the program is not called a ''five-year-plan,'' the centralized tool that the Soviet Union relied on to set economic goals and direct state spending.

But it was last five years, with the first outlays expected in the first half of this year. 

''Nobody is hiding it now,'' said Aleksandr Abramov, a professor at the Higher School of Economics who attended the forum. ''State spending is the economic theme of 2019.''

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Russia and Economy continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Andrew E. Kramer.


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