Kremlin preparing for sanctions on Russian Mir payment system
The Bank of Russia is preparing for sanctions to be imposed on the Mir national payment system, which has been rolled out on a mandatory basis for all state employees. Preparation has been underway since August, when reports came out that the US may intensify its sanctions on Russia, stated Svetlana Romashkina, deputy head of the Central Bank’s national payment system department, at a meeting with bankers on Thursday. According to her, work was begun after the sanctions were announced “on TV”.
“Since the day there was an announcement on TV that somewhere, someone is once again planning to impose new sanctions, we have been running and looking for a way to protect ourselves, to make provisions for possible means of protection,” TASS cites Romashkina as saying.
“We have been running tirelessly for two months. To be honest, sometimes even into the night,” the Central Bank representative said.
Romashnika admitted that she does not know whether the new national payment system will be ready for new sanctions, but expressed the hope that sanctions would not affect it.
The Mir national payment system was created in the summer of 2014 after Russian banks began having problems with the international payment systems Visa and MasterCard due to sanctions.
Since the start of 2018, six bills proposing a tightening of anti-Russian sanctions have been put forward in US Congress. Two of them include a tightening of sanctions on the energy and financial sectors, oligarchs and state corporations, and a ban on investment in Russian government debt and operations with Russian government banks.
The bills also envisage a ban on “issuing licenses to American citizens to participate in activity related to certain oil extraction projects in the Russian Federation”