The decision comes amid pressure for a rate cut from high-profile government ministers, including President Vladimir Putin, who criticized the bank for its last move.
Timothy Ash, head of emerging markets research at Standard Bank, said in a note Friday that the cut could be politically-motivated.
"Not sure what this changing balance of risks is exactly...it all seems pretty similar to when they hiked rates, the only difference is that there is a new deputy governor for monetary policy," he said.
"The move will be seen as politically-driven, and (will cause) further erosion of CBR credibility, which was already badly damaged last year with the shambolic management (or lack of it) of the ruble."
Russia's economy has been severely impacted not only by sanctions imposed on it for its incursions into Ukraine, which have isolated it from international business and trade, but from the falling oil price which has plummeted around 60 percent since June 2014, hurting its exports and revenues. As a consequence, Russia is expected to enter recession in 2015.
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Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told CNBC Thursday that he hoped interest rates would be cut, but that the central bank was independent and could not be influenced. Meanwhile, Andrey Kostin, chief executive of Russia's second-largest bank VTB, also said that he hoped the central bank would lower rates, but would do so gradually.