Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged that the country would continue to develop as an open market, but fired a broadside at the U.S. by halting the use of the dollar for trade.
Putin's promise to keep free movement of capital was seen as a signal that Russia's relatively pro-market economic "liberal" faction has gained the upper hand in the struggle for control of the country's moribund economy.
His pledge to start using "national currencies" rather than U.S. dollars, the world's reserve currency, for trade, may be more significant in the long term. The dollar's current status has helped keep U.S. interest rates low and reinforce its status as the world's biggest economy. If Russia (and possibly China, with which it has just signed a $400 billion, 30-year gas deal) stops using dollars, this might have a broader effect on the U.S. economy.