Kremlin warns West: rouble-for-gas scheme is the ‘prototype’

(EurActiv, 4 Apr 2022) President Vladimir Putin’s rouble payment scheme for natural gas is the prototype that the world’s largest country will extend to other major exports because the West has sealed the decline of the US dollar by freezing Russian assets, the Kremlin said.

Russia’s economy is facing the gravest crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union after the United States and its allies imposed crippling sanctions due to Putin’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s main economic response so far was an order on March 23 for Russian gas exports to be paid in roubles, however the scheme allows purchasers to pay in the contracted currency which is then exchanged into roubles by Gazprombank.

“It is the prototype of the system,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia’s Channel One state television about the rouble for gas payment system.

“I have no doubt that it will be extended to new groups of goods,” Peskov said. He gave no time frame for such a move.

Peskov said that the West’s decision to freeze $300 billion of the central bank’s reserves was a “robbery” that would have already accelerated a move away from reliance on the US dollar and the euro as global reserve currencies.

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EurActiv, 4 Apr 2022: Kremlin warns West: rouble-for-gas scheme is the ‘prototype’