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Chronicle of world's economic war against Russia: Fortunes of billionaires halved

UnionPay payment system does not want to cooperate with sanctioned banks of the Russian Federation

UnionPay payment system does not want to cooperate with sanctioned banks of the Russian Federation

After the full-scale invasion in Ukraine, Russia faced economic problems and sanctions imposed by many countries and international organizations. The government of the aggressor country calls it economic war. The Page has prepared the latest reports as of April 21.

Economy

The "special operation" in Ukraine and imposed sanctions as a result of it have halved the fortunes of Russian billionaires in a few days, according to Forbes. This year, only 88 billionaires were added to the list, 35 less than a year earlier.

The new crisis in the Russian economy, caused by sanctions, will have some similarities with the coronavirus crisis, which has just ended, the High School of Economics experts have concluded. An important difference between crises will be their consequences. While the crisis of 2020 caused a temporary, albeit sharp fall in GDP, now the Russian economy is partially isolated, which will affect capital flows, structure and volumes of exports and imports. According to the results of 2022, the depth of the recession will be similar to 1998, and the crisis recovery will be very sluggish.

VTB followed the Ministry of Finance and paid off its foreign currency debts in rubles. The bank paid a $52 million coupon on dollar eurobonds in two tranches: $27 million in rubles was sent to Russian paperholders and residents of "friendly countries", and $25 million, belonged to investors from "unfriendly countries", was blocked in special accounts. To get the money, investors need to contact the authorities of their countries and ask to unlock the frozen Russian assets.

Almost 200,000 Russian employees of foreign companies who left the Russian market continue to receive salaries. However, companies may soon start firing them, experts say.

Tobacco manufacturer Imperial Brands (Davidoff, Gauloises, JPS, Fine, West) has sold its business in Russia to Russian investors. Due to the exit from Russian business, the company will take a 225 million pound non-monetary write-off.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Germany will gradually cut off from the purchase of Russian energy. In particular, it will completely end oil imports by the end of the year.

Finnish marine power equipment manufacturer Wartsila plans to write off €200 million related to assets and business operations in Russia. Earlier, Wartsila suspended supplies, sales, orders. and trading in Russia.

Large Russian banks sanctioned by Western countries will not be able to issue cards of the Chinese UnionPay payment system, as it is afraid to cooperate with them because of the risk of secondary sanctions. After Visa and Mastercard left Russia, China's UnionPay remains one of the few options for cross-border payments and transfers.

Granting consumer loans in the Russian Federation in March decreased by 61.5%: 440,000 loans against 1.14 million in February.

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The American manufacturer of household chemicals and hygiene products Procter & Gamble has seen a risk for its business in Russia. The company believes that it is currently impossible to do business in the country due to sanctions, supply disruptions, restrictions for banks and monetary policy.

The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance has imposed restrictions on users from Russia with over €10,000 in assets. The exchange admitted that these measures potentially restrict ordinary Russian citizens, but stressed that it had to restrict services under the fifth package of EU sanctions.

Over the IKEA withdrawal, almost two dozen factories in Russia have turned out in crisis because they lost the largest buyer.

Sanctions

The US Treasury Department has imposed new sanctions against Russia. The OFAC list includes 29 people and 40 organizations, including Mikhail Zadornov, chairman of Otkrytie Bank, Ksenia Yudayeva, deputy head of the Bank of Russia, businessman Konstantin Malofeev, and IBS founder Anatoly Karachinsky. The blacklist also includes one of Russia's largest cryptocurrency mining data center operators, BitRiver.

The SDN-list includes Malofeev's Association for the Promotion of Russian Historical Education Tsargrad and its affiliated structures, as well as Transcapitalbank and Investtorgbank. Washington explained the sanctions against these banks by the attempts of Russian companies to form a "global network" to skirt the restrictions imposed on Russia.

Transcapitalbank tried to cooperate with banks in China and the Middle East. It suggested conducting transactions through its own Internet banking system as an alternative to SWIFT. The bank is also the operator of the payment infrastructure services provided by the new Hello payment system, which was recently registered by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.

The UK has added 26 Russians and structures to the sanctions list. Russian Railways Chairman Oleg Bilozerov, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov and the wife of billionaire Herman Khan are under sanctions, as well as concern "Kalashnikov".

The sanctions against Russia are designed to decrease damage to the world economy, according to a joint statement by the G7. It is noted that the sanctions preserve Russia's access to food, medicine and medical equipment.

Society

In Q1, Russians bought 8.5% less second-hand cars than a year ago. Experts explain the decline in the shortage of cars, as well as barrier prices from dealers.

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Cyprus will revoke the citizenship of four more people who have come under EU sanctions. Thus, the number of persons subjected to this procedure will reach eight.

In order to preserve films and TV series from companies from "unfriendly" countries in Russia, the authorities plan to use the mechanism of compulsory licensing, i.e. to actually confiscate them.

The tennis ATP has condemned the exclusion of Russians and Belarusians from Wimbledon. The association believes that tennis players "compete as individuals" and not as representatives of states. The Association reminded that Russian and Belarusian players will still be allowed to play in ATP tournaments under a neutral flag. Wimbledon organizers said they would be ready to reconsider the decision if the geopolitical situation changes by June.

Kyrgyzstan's State Security Committee has called for an end to the use of the Z symbol during the May 9 celebrations. "The State Committee for National Security warns of responsibility for actions aimed at inciting ethnic hatred," the intelligence service said in a statement.

Despite general trend

Carlsberg Group, which has announced its withdrawal from Russia, may sell its brewery Baltika to rival AB InBev Efes, controlled by Turkey's Anadolu Efes. Efes intends to remain in the Russian market.

The Spanish company Inditex (brands Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius) expects to return to Russia "as soon as possible" when circumstances let them do it, its CEO said.

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