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Investors see little reason to get excited about most Russian stocks these days. The dollar-denominated Russian Trading System index has fallen 14 percent over the past year, more than the 9 percent decline in emerging markets generally. The country’s economic growth slowed to 1.3 percent annually in 2013, according to the World Bank, down from 3.4 percent in 2012. Russia’s own Ministry of Economic Development slashed long-term growth projections last November, to an average 2.5 percent a year between now and 2030.

Some Russian companies are immune to the prevailing pessimism, though. New York–traded shares of Yandex, the country’s dominant Internet search provider, have jumped by 60 percent in the 12 months ended February 26. Mail.ru, which controls the leading Russian-language portal and 40 percent of VK.com, the local version of Facebook, gained 13 percent on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Two Russian-linked initial public offerings sizzled on U.S. markets during 2013. Shares in Qiwi, an electronic payments platform akin to PayPal, have doubled in price since the company launched its $213 million IPO on Nasdaq last May. So has the stock of Luxoft since it went public with a $70 million offering on the New York Stock Exchange in June. The company, which is domiciled in the British Virgin Islands and has its executive offices in Zug, Switzerland, is a subsidiary of Moscow software developer IBS Group. Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank, an Internet-only bank founded in 2006 that focuses on high-margin consumer loans in Russia, raised $1 billion in an IPO on the LSE in October through its parent, TCS Group Holding. Its shares have slumped 33 percent from the issue price, though.

The performance of these companies reflects the dynamism of Russia’s tech sector, which is developing rapidly, even as the country’s commodities-dependent economy stagnates.

The young Russian tech companies have convinced investors that they represent an island of sound international governance standards in the murky sea of Russian capitalism. The presence of Westerners as pre-IPO shareholders and executives — Tinkoff Credit’s CEO is Oliver Hughes, a U.K. national who joined the bank from Visa International — offers some reassurance. The firms’ founders all hail from a globally recognizable class of tech entrepreneurs who owe their success to vision and moxie, not to skill at manipulating opaque privatizations or fending off rival gangster clans.