Vladimir Putin. Source: video screenshot, CNBC Television / YouTube
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken of plans to renew the country's international payments ecosystem - in an attempt to prevent Moscow from slipping into an economic quagmire at the hands of Western-led sanctions.
The nation was almost frozen out of international trade and the global economic system after the start of the war in Ukraine. But Moscow has responded with a series of countermeasures.
Putin - New ecosystem for international payments
According to the state news agency Tass, Putin has created a working group that has been tasked with "creating a new mechanism for international payments". The group will be led by a key aide to Putin, Maxim Oreshkin, and will also launch new measures related to the regulation of the currency, aimed at thwarting the efforts of the international community to drag the ruble into the abyss.
The group also includes a number of key government and economic figures, such as the head of the central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, the heads of the ministries of finance and economic development, as well as the head of Russia's financial regulator, and the presidents of the Federal Tax Service and Federal Customs Service.
The working group was given the authority to implement the state policy on currency regulation and international regulations, and was ordered to create the necessary infrastructure to carry out the regulations "between Russia and the partners of friendly countries". The platform will do without currencies such as the dollar and the euro, and will instead require the use of "Russian rubles or the national currencies" of "friendly states".
The body will create a new protocol system for settlements with international partners and "resolve issues related to conducting trade finance operations" - as well as create a new payment clearing system.
The body will also create a parallel system for the approximately 50 nations that the Kremlin has put on a list of "hostile countries". If these countries wish to trade with Russia, they will be forced to pay in rubles rather than having the choice to pay using their national currency.
While the group will have executive power, it has been tasked with seeking Putin’s approval for all major proposals.
The working group was also told to "develop measures" relating to the regulation of foreign trade "in order to ensure a balance between supply and demand in transactions" in the currency markets. And the group was told to "work on a number of other" financial issues, including those related to international sanctions and the freezing or seizure of Russian state assets held abroad.