A top Russian banker says Russia’s payment methods should be a ‘state secret’ because the West keeps shutting them down so fast

A top Russian banker says Russia’s payment methods should be a ‘state secret’ because the West keeps shutting them down so fast
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Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Russia faces intense pressure from sanctions targeting payment systems.
  • A top Russian banker says the country should stop talking about payment mechanisms due to sensitivity.
  • Russia is seeking alternatives to Western payment systems, acknowledging the challenge and time required.

Russia’s top financial officials admitted the country is under huge pressure from sanctions as their methods for making trade payments keep getting shut down.

On Wednesday, a top Russian banker said the methods should be made a “state secret” due to their sensitivity, Reuters reported.

“I can see very well that right now somewhere at the US embassy, a second secretary is sitting and writing down every public statement of ours. Maybe he is even sitting here,” said Andrei Kostin, the CEO of VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest lender.

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“Whatever steps we take, we can see that the reaction is very quick,” he said.

Kostin made the comment at a financial conference where he was on a panel with Russian central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina.

Nabiullina agreed with Kostin that it’s better to avoid specifics about payment mechanisms.

She also admitted that Russia’s business partners overseas were under “tremendous pressure” from Western sanctions. But she also expressed hope that an alternative global payments system not involving Western institutions will emerge.

“Different alternatives are being discussed. Businesses have become very flexible, very enterprising. They find ways to solve this and often don’t even share them with us,” said Nabiullina, per Reuters.

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Western-led sanctions against Russia are intensifying

Despite sweeping Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s economy has managed to keep humming thanks to wartime activities.

Russia’s war-driven economy is so hot that the World Bank recently upgraded it to a “high-income country.”

The West blocked some Russian banks from the widely used SWIFT messaging system for payments early in the war, but Russia and its trade partners have been able to skirt sanctions by using smaller banks or other payment modes.

However, the US and its allies have been intensifying restrictions, particularly with the use of secondary sanctions against institutions in third-party countries.

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Just last month, the US Treasury rolled out a new package of expansive US sanctions package against Russia, forcing the Moscow Exchange — Russia’s key bourse — to halt dollar and euro trade.

Russia has said it’s working with a group of countries to build a platform that doesn’t need the dollar.

Nabiullina said discussions about the platform were ongoing but that they were difficult and would take time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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