Russia's prospects for a higher debt grade after entering theWorld Trade Organization may not materialize because of thecountry's investment climate and institutional weaknesses, ratingcompanies said.

Standard & Poor's, whose BBB rating has a stable outlook,doesn't anticipate “any immediate impact from WTO accession,” saidKai Stukenbrock, director of sovereign ratings in Europe, theMiddle East and Africa. Russia must tackle “institutionalweaknesses” such as the rule of law and corruption to reap the fullbenefits from WTO entry, according to Dietmar Hornung, a seniorcredit analyst at Moody's Investors Service

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who plans to return to theKremlin next May, has yet to take significant measures to diversifythe economy by improving the rule of law and reducing the role ofstate monopolies, Moody's and S&P said. None of the three mainrating agencies have upgraded Russia's debt score since the2008-2009 global financial crisis.

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