For securitization devotees, Russia has long been a story of unfulfilled potential. Sounding like the inert characters of a Chekhov play, talk among players was always of things to come. Action finally came in late July, when gas exporter Gazprom placed a $1.25 billion structured deal. Its success - underlined by a $250 million upsizing - fed hopes that other exporters and even banks would start tapping flows from abroad. But onshore assets face more daunting obstacles, with the laws required for a securitization sector often either unfriendly or nonexistent.

"While there is a lot of interest from the side of arrangers and originators, there are big problems from the side of legislation," said Igor Iassenovets, assistant general counsel at the Moscow office of Standard & Poor's. He belongs to a working group of lawyers, bankers, regulators, investors and other players that has been discussing securitization issues monthly since 2002 and pushing for comprehensive legislation in the sector.

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