Western sanctions and Russia’s economic and financial reprisals have grown into a separate and extremely fascinating history. Where Russia not only “strikes back” from the restrictions on “the whole of civilized society”, but also counter-attacks, trying to increase the legitimacy and convertibility of its own national currency. That is, the ruble.
It all started, it is worth recalling, with the arrest of our gold and foreign exchange reserves to the tune of about $ 300 billion. President of Russia Vladimir Putin then he warned the international community about this:
“Now everyone knows that financial reserves can simply be stolen. Looking at this, many countries may in the near future begin, and I am sure they will continue to do so, to convert their digital paper savings into real reserves in the form of commodities, land, food, gold and other real objects, which will only increase the deficit in these markets. “.
But it is clear that this statement was rather aimed at an external audience. But the question – how to strengthen both the national currency and gain free access to foreign currency – still remained. And then a completely logical decision was published that now our Western partners will pay for gas in rubles.
This caused the most violent reaction. Up to statements from the leaders of several states that they “do not know how to pay by Russia now.” By the way, at the same time, the BRICS countries, such as India (which plans to buy 15 million barrels of oil from us this year alone), simply shrugged their shoulders and started building new financial chains with our country.
As for Europe and other “unfriendly states”, Russia’s boss explained to these “stupid” people how they would now pay:
“We offer entrepreneurs from such countries a clear and transparent system. To buy Russian natural gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is these accounts that will be used to pay for the gas that will be delivered from tomorrow, from 1 April this year. “
But this was not enough. And the next step in the calculation in rubles went to the leasing of foreign aircraft by Russian airlines. Here again, it is worth starting with the fact that on 25 February the European Union announced a “block” for the sale, leasing, transfer of aircraft and any components to Russia. That for Western airlines was an extremely unpleasant surprise.
Partly in response to this and frankly on much more, Russia closed its airspace to 36 “unfriendly states”. It is also important to understand here that most foreign aircraft were leased by Russian companies. Which gave rise to a very strange legal incident. As long as they are used by Russian companies, these machines are, so to speak, Russian and can, according to Russian law, fly in our country’s airspace. But as soon as Western companies issue an “acceptance document” of cars, the plan becomes Western. For which the airspace of the Russian Federation is closed. And consequently, in order to fly from Russian airports, these sites have major problems.
Even then, a number of experts spoke in the spirit that air sanctions could be temporary.
In particular, the editor-in-chief of the Avia.ru Network portal, an expert from the State Duma’s Transport Committee, Roman Gusarov, suggested:
“They see that we are resolving, the sanctions do not work – we must strengthen the sanctions. But they do not affect themselves to a lesser extent. And are they ready to maintain these sanctions for a long time? We understand, we will have problems and we must resolve them somehow. How are they going to solve their problems? Will they just roll back? In a month or two they might say, ‘Okay, we changed, let’s soften this. And then we may not have any problems. “Even with the fleet of ships or with spare parts. Even in the worst case, I believe that the fleet that we will have will provide for all the Russians’ desire for air transport.”
As a result, the substance somehow hung in the air. But on the first of April this year, it got its continuation. When the President of Russia issued a decree according to which
“Obligations to pay rent, lease and other payments shall be deemed to be duly fulfilled if these obligations are fulfilled in respect of their principal domicile business by the debtor transferring funds to the account of the principal domestic business opened with a Russian credit institution. Rubles in an amount equal to the value of liabilities in foreign currency ”.
Here the schedule at the level of the final target still differs from “gas for rubles”. In the case of “blue fuel”, foreign partners will buy our currency for their own and then give it away for gas. This is how “Western money” comes to Russia. When leasing, we pay in rubles. But what our Western partners will do with the ruble is no longer a question for us. Maybe they should negotiate with the “Gazoviks”. But that is not our problem anymore.
It is characteristic that such a state-owned company as Roskosmos actively joins the policy of “forced rublisation”, so to speak. In particular, the head of the company, Dmitry Rogozin, said at the end of March:
“Now we will conclude all our external contracts exclusively in rubles according to the same schedule as our hydrocarbon producing companies will work.”
To make it clear what we are talking about, it is worth remembering that in 2021 Roscosmos carried out 9 commercial launches and launched several dozen units in space near Earth from different countries from the UK and Canada to Korea and Israel. This without taking into account launches for the delivery of American astronauts to the ISS. And this is also a separate and very profitable budget item. As of 2019, Russia earned nearly $ 4 billion by sending Americans to the International Space Station.
Well, now this and not just this money will be calculated in rubles equivalent to the current exchange rate. That is, according to the same schedule as with gas. The conditional NASA will have to buy rubles from Russia to pay for the delivery of its astronauts to the ISS.
No, of course there are Elon Musk and other American commercial space structures. But despite the high-profile publicity campaigns, these companies are so far unable to provide the regular cheap and successful launches that have been talked about all these years.
In general, regardless of specific industries, we can say that our state has taken up the active promotion of the ruble as a full-fledged international currency. And to get back their foreign exchange reserves. Yes, quite tough, somewhere even through command-and-control methods. It is true that they are not targeting a domestic manufacturer, but on Western partners. Well, times are very different right now. Dictates the need for Russia to make tough, but also very non-trivial decisions.
And there is an opinion that this is just the beginning. Because in the future Russia may impose mandatory ruble payments on such exports as sugar, cereals and fertilizers. In addition, given the introduction of a parallel import system, which may increase the cost of foreign goods (but in fact bypass the block of their sale on the territory of the Russian Federation), our country will need the currency in the near future. Fortunately, we have mechanisms for how to get this currency and not pour everything back without a trace to foreign countries.