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Cessation of Mir cards servicing: Counter-sanctions possible as extreme measures

Chairperson of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina commented on the refusal to service Mir cards in several countries during the presentation of the annual report of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation in the State Duma.

Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Irina Rodnina pointed out during the plenary session that banking organizations and payment systems of a number of states completely or partially refused to service Mir cards after the introduction of sanctions by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

«Among them are not only far-abroad countries, but also formally friendly to Russia Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan. What measures does the bank of Russia plan to take to counteract the new sanction restrictions in order to minimize their consequences for Russian citizens and is the Central Bank considering retaliatory measures to restrict or ban the transfer of funds from Russia by citizens of these states to their home countries?» she asked.

As the Central Bank head noted, «sanctions on Russia’s financial sector not only do not stop, but intensify.»

«Despite this, we continue dialogue with friendly countries on preserving and developing infrastructure and finding alternative solutions. For well-known reasons, I will not disclose what alternative solutions we are working on. But we explain to our partners that it is in our mutual interests to create such working payment mechanisms. They are also interested in expanding tourist flows from Russia, transfers [of money] of migrant workers. Many of our partners realize that this is a mutual interest. We are discussing the possible integration of our platform solutions,» she said.

As for retaliatory measures, in Elvira Nabiullina’s opinion, «theoretically it is possible — both restrictions and the introduction of bans.»

«But I think that they should be considered as a last resort in relations with states if they do not behave constructively and do not work in the search for the adoption of alternative mechanisms,» she concluded.