Russian telecom VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) -- better known locally by its "Beeline" brand -- is expected to ring up Wall Street with its Q1 2007 earnings news tomorrow.

After the news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over VimpelCom's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 29,000 investors for their views on well over 4,000 companies worldwide. Here's what Fools have to say about this one in particular.

Up or down?
Nearly 200 investors have submitted ratings on VimpelCom. The verdict: This stock is the bee's knees.

A whopping 96% of CAPS investors think VimpelCom can bring home the honey, and when you drill down to the opinions of our very best investors -- the CAPS All-Stars -- that sentiment swells to 97%. That's more than sufficient to earn this stock a full complement of five CAPS stars.

That makes VimpelCom a queen bee in the tiny hive of Russian ADR-listed firms:

Russia Group

CAPS Rating



Mechel (NYSE:MTL)


Mobile Telesystems (NYSE:MBT)


Lukoil Holding (OTC BB: LUKOY.PK)


Wimm-Bill-Dann (NYSE:WBD)


Rostelecom (NYSE:ROS)


Moscow CableCom (NASDAQ:MOCC)


Wall Street vs. Main Street
Wall Street, while not exactly bearish on Beeline, isn't quite as enthused as individual investors. Of the three analyst recommendations on record, two counsel investors to buy the stock, and only one demurs. Strange -- you'd think that a stock that's eclipsed the S&P 500's performance by a stinging 137 points over the last 52 weeks would get a little more buzz on the Street.

Bull pitch
VimpelCom bulls play follow-the-leader, calling this firm the "biggest wireless company in Moscow," the "top Russian [cellular] company," and the "most transparent Russian company," period. Valuation-wise, they like its "good historic and estimated growth relative to PE." From the perspective of cash profits, they laud its "strong cash flows (especially when capex drops off)."

Bears wanted
Bears seem to be in hibernation on VimpelCom. Just one out of the 29 pitches posted on the company raises doubts, citing the risk that the company won't win a 3G license it's bidding on in Russia.

But is that really the only risk here? How about the 25 P/E -- higher than the estimated growth rate? And what about the danger of the now oversaturated Russian market, slowing subscriber growth, and sizeable customer churn, all of which have been discussed by CEO Alexander Izosimov?

Surely there's someone out there who can put together an argument against investing in VimpelCom and temper our Foolish enthusiasm. If you're that someone, then we'd like to invite you to visit CAPS and tell us why we should worry. Chances are, if you do even a halfway decent job of it, you'll be featured as our top bear pitcher in no time.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 424 out of more than 29,000 raters. The Fool's disclosure policy makes a mean peanut butter and honey sandwich.