Russia, with its huge allotment of natural resources and semi-authoritarian, state-capitalist economic policies, is an intriguing investment idea in the wake of a surging stock market and global economic recovery. Investors can use exchange traded funds (ETFs) to invest in Russia.

Although Russia’s economy contracted 7.9% in 2009, its main stock index, the RTS, doubled over the same period, reports Stuart Williams of AFP. As a result, the number of billionaires jumped to 62 from 32 at the beginning of 2009. Vladimir Lisin tops the list with a $16 billion fortune mostly tied up in steel producer Novolipetsk Steel. [How to Choose Emerging Market ETFs.]

The lag in real economic growth has not gone unnoticed by Russian brass, reports Tejinder Singh of All Headline News. Council on Foreign Relations Adjunct Fellow Jeffrey Mankoff pointed out that “although the worst of the economic crisis seemed to be over, Russia would continue to feel the ill effects longer than other industrialized nations because of its rigid economy burdened with an overweening state role.” [ETF Strategies for Playing the BRICs.]

On an optimistic note, Russia’s new President Dmitry Medvedev sees this as a unique opportunity to reform Russian economic policy to be more in line with those of Western countries. By doing so, he believes he can help Russia gain access to resources that would help boost its competitiveness.