SUPERPOWER ON THE BRINK: WILL RUSSIA’S CRISIS IMPERIL THE U.S.? CNBC PRESENTS "THE RUSSIAN GAMBLE," REPORTED BY CNBC’S ERIN BURNETT, PREMIERING THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2008

SUPERPOWER ON THE BRINK: WILL RUSSIA’S CRISIS IMPERIL THE U.S.? CNBC PRESENTS "THE RUSSIAN GAMBLE," REPORTED BY CNBC’S ERIN BURNETT, PREMIERING THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2008

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., December 10, 2008 - Is the Cold War coming back? Not long ago Moscow was the billionaire capital of the world thanks to a wealth of oil, gas and precious metals. But now Russia faces a financial crisis of epic proportions with oil prices and the stock market plummeting –

and it's main sources of income in free-fall. Will the sudden economic downturn of this powerful nation spark internal unrest and a renewed rivalry between Russia and the U.S.? Reporting from Moscow, CNBC's Erin Burnett delves into the causes of Russia's impending crisis, and its wide-ranging repercussions, in the CNBC Original production "The Russian Gamble," premiering Thursday, December 11th at 10PM ET/PT and 1AM ET/PT.

Burnett explores the idea that an economically threatened Russia has become more aggressive, carrying disturbing implications for the U.S. A case in point is the recent invasion of Georgia, which was the country's first military offensive since the end of the USSR. With a 90% approval rating, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may be emboldened to engage in more saber rattling, as talk continues on a missile program to counteract America's proposed European Missile Defense Shield.

Burnett interviews Sergey Riabokobylko, head of the U.S./Russian Chamber of Commerce, who talks about Russia's use of military force as a bargaining chip on other issues. JP Morgan Chase Russia CEO Jeff Costello tells Burnett how this financial crisis differs from that of 1998 when the country defaulted on its loans leaving its citizens with only 20% of their savings intact. She also talks with Dmitri Peskov, who serves as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's spokesperson, about what the government plans to do to avert an economic collapse.

"The Russian Gamble" also contrasts the lifestyles of the average citizens who rely heavily on cash, with that of the elite high rollers who have close ties to the Russian government. Interviews with Maxim Trudolyubov, editor at the Russian daily paper Vedemosti and Andrei Vavilov, former owner of the oil company Severnaya, shed further light on the subject.

Rounding out the program is a look at how the Russian people view the election of Barack Obama and the possibility of improved relations between the two countries.

Erin Burnett is the anchor of CNBC's "Street Signs," and co-anchor of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

For more information including web extras and extended video clips, log onto russiangamble.cnbc.com.



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