The Russian government prohibits foreign companies and individuals from transferring money from Russia abroad. The Central Bank of Russia prohibits all financial transactions of countries that have taken anti-Russian actions. This was reported by the Russian state newspaper on Monday.
This action should stop capital flight now that Russia’s economy has been largely shut down by far-reaching Western sanctions. A spokesman for the Russian Central Bank said the measure should “maintain the stability of the financial system”.
Russian news agencies reported that Russia described a total of 43 countries, including the Netherlands, as “unfriendly.” The list includes all countries of the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia and Japan. This has consequences for working life; Only with the permission of a special commission of the Russian government can companies from those countries do deals. The restrictions are retroactive from March 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.
State media reported that foreigners from other countries not on the sanctions list could not only transfer money from Russia to foreign accounts.
Russians are also not allowed to transfer money in foreign currency abroad. The export of cash was also restricted: it was forbidden to leave the country with more than ten thousand dollars in cash.
Last year, the Czech Republic and the United States were placed on the list of hostile countries. As a result, the embassies of those countries had to lay off the majority of their Russian employees. This led to the loss of many jobs.
There is fear in diplomatic circles that even countries now classified as “unfriendly” will have to expel their Russian diplomatic staff. This would significantly reduce the capacity of services for foreign embassies in Russia.
The list comes on the heels of a presidential decree issued on 5 March. This temporarily allows the Russian government, companies and citizens to pay off debts owed to foreign claimants from “unfriendly countries” in rubles. To transfer money, a special bank account must be opened in one of the Russian banks. The scheme is applied only to payments starting from 10 million rubles (more than 66,000 euros) per month.
Many multinational companies have completely or partially suspended their activities in Russia. One exception was French dairy company Danone, but that company announced on Monday that it was suspending planned additional investments in Russia. The French food group will continue to sell dairy and baby food in the country, saying it will continue to provide locals with basic necessities.
According to the French newspaper le Figaro Danone CEO met with French President Macron. The president is said to have urged not to rush out of Russia; Not without consultation with the French government. (Norwegian Refugee Council)
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of March 8, 2022
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