Investors in foreign markets have already seen the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- living up to the hype in 2007. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (NYSE:EEM) ETF, which has several top holdings based in BRIC nations, is already up more than 30% this year. Russia has been doing its share of the heavy lifting, as the Market Vectors Russia ETF is up about 25% in the seven months since its inception.

In addition to core industries such as steel, energy, and mining, telecommunication companies have been booming in Russia and the rest of the Confederation of Independent States (CIS). While many U.S. investors have found their way to popular wireless plays such as Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) and VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP), fewer have taken note of fixed-line counterpart Golden Telecom (NASDAQ:GLDN). That's too bad, because Golden has been one of this year's hot stocks, with shares more than doubling year to date.

Golden began transforming its business in late 2005 to focus on its larger goals of becoming the AT&T (NYSE:T) of Russia, providing high-speed broadband and integrated communications services for businesses and consumers. This includes fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) installations for high-rises, DSL broadband, and even deploying wireless Wi-Fi networks outdoors and in retail areas such as McDonald's  and Starbucks.

So far, the increased focus has been paying off for Golden, with the company growing revenue 28% and net income 12% in fiscal 2006. The company more recently announced a 53% jump in revenue and a 25% spike in operating income for its third quarter, bolstered by the doubling of consumer Internet revenues.

With a $4 billion market cap, Golden is still small; it counts just less than 400,000 broadband subscribers, compared to 8 million for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T's 13.8 million. The company only sees this as 8% of the total broadband market in Russia, so there's plenty of room for continued growth.

The tremendous potential still lying in wireline communications in Russia and the CIS has long kept Golden at the center of takeover talk. VimpelCom, in particular, has been rumored to be making overtures for Golden, with eyes on offering bundled wireless and wireline services to attract even more customers.

With shares of Golden trading at around 25 times forward earnings, the company is not cheap. But with significant long-term growth opportunities ahead, investors may want to keep this emerging Russian play on their investing map.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock has never dreamt of running away to join the circus, but he's a clown in his own town. He owns shares of Starbucks. He is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Starbucks is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy charms even the slipperiest of snakes.