Gov't man gains control of Russian central bank

First Deputy Prime Minister / Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has become the head of the National Banking Council - the Russian central bank's advisory board. The appointment is likely to give the government increased influence over the activities of the Bank.

The appointment has been seen as quite timely considering the forthcoming parliamentary election campaign and foreign debt repayments.

The first session of the National Banking Council was held on 11 December, the eve of the Constitution D