It should be recalled that President Vladimir Putin proposed to nationalize the Central Bank in 2000, and four years ago Senate Speaker Valentina Matvienko also spoke in support of this idea. Experts assure that as soon as the US Congress decides to freeze our international reserves, the issue of nationalization of the Central Bank will be decided by itself.
Unintentionally investing Russian billions in American securities, the Central Bank, in fact, played a Russian roulette, believes Senator Igor Morozov. And it looks like he's finished bad. Initially, there was a risk that in the case of a sharp cooling between Moscow and Washington, this money "hangs" overseas, as already Iranian, Syrian and Libyan assets were hanging. And the head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina could not not take this into account. Especially since the first time to freeze the international reserves of Russia, invested by the Central Bank in the US public debt, the congressmen started talking in September 2013. And now, when they unequivocally put our country on a par with Iran and North Korea, the right reason to put a paw on billions of the Central Bank is, in fact, invented, Yakov Mirkin, the head of the international capital markets of the IMEMO RAS, believes.
"The new sanctions, which are about to be imposed on our country by the US Congress, have been known for a long time," the expert explains. "Meanwhile, in just six months, they (investments) have grown by as much as $ 34 billion!" The feeling is that the money was deliberately brought out across the ocean, and in the light of the recent appearance of the deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Vasily Pozdyshev, Like a kind of special operation or a grandiose, literally small detail planned fraud!
Mikhail Delyagin, economist:
"It is of fundamental importance that Russia does not even face the question of the prestige or format of relations with the US, but the question of saving its money, and very significant. In America, more than a quarter of all international reserves of our country are kept. And they can be frozen at any time - many well-known precedents. There is no doubt that the expansion of sanctions and the consolidated vote in the congress is the preamble to freeze our 109 billion dollars. Against this background, the US Treasury's promises to act "aggressively and destructively" against Russia seem to be a very concrete threat. In general, the delay in the return of these CB assets (sluggishness - the norm of behavior of the domestic bureaucracy) can result in monstrous losses, both material and moral. This decision, I believe, will cause panic and more devastating than it could be, the devaluation of the ruble - not to mention the collapse of a number of Russian banks that seemed to be impeccable.
Heads of the Central Bank - fools or criminals?
Those same 109 billion dollars, due to which in the Federation Council from the submission of Senator Morozov and the fuss broke, is, as the economist Mirkin explains, "the investment of Russia's international reserves in the US public debt."
"Can these funds be frozen? - argues the expert. - Of course! The American draft law on sanctions has a subtitle - "to resist the aggression of the governments of Iran, the Russian Federation and North Korea." Thus, our country is officially recognized overseas by the aggressor state, whose contributions to the national debt and US derivatives should be frozen. " As previously tens and hundreds of billions of dollars were invested in the US public debt by naive Syrians, Iranians and Libyans.
Nobody argues with the fact that Russia's foreign exchange reserves can be invested in reliable securities, which are considered American debt receipts. But at the same time, Mirkin insists, you need to adequately assess the risks associated with how the leadership of the country can act in whose assets your billions are invested! Now, guess now: Elvira Nabiullina substantially underestimated these risks (which, you see, raises doubts, given her professional reputation)?
"The risks of freezing assets should be calculated ahead of time, and this must always be done and certainly when it comes to placing international reserves," Yakov Mirkin insists. - As evidenced by the data of the US Treasury, Russia's investments in Treasury (government securities) have increased substantially recently, when everyone was just talking about new sanctions. All the arguments on this point are only logical assumptions, and excessive speculation on the subject of freezing assets, probably, is also wrong. But the picture is formed, you see, quite ambiguous. "
There would be no happiness, but misfortune helped. A new package of sanctions and the forthcoming freezing of the fourth part of all international assets of Russia can dramatically change all the political developments in our country, economist Mikhail Khazin predicts.
"Moscow is increasingly recalling that the best response to American sanctions is the expulsion of their" fifth column "from the government and the Central Bank," the expert said. "It will hit the US much harder than the expulsion of diplomats." Did you really smell of resignations in the "liberal bloc"? All right, confirms the expert. Almost the only element of the development of the Russian economy in the last quarter of a century is foreign investment. So Yegor Gaidar commanded, and this precept is shared by Nabiullina and the liberals who rule the economy in the government. "Attraction of foreign investments is their main task," Khazin explains. "Their" common cause "! But the channel of their attraction "collapsed", because of sanctions. " And now the risk of freezing 109 billion has arisen - liberals definitely should think about their future. "However," Khazin sneers, "if we talk about the consequences, it's more interesting when Nabiullina arranges another devaluation - with reference to the sanctions, of course. Until the end of the summer or in September? ".
Dmitry ZHURAVLYOV, general director of the Institute of Regional Problems:
- I would say that the risk is 50 to 50. The freezing of assets placed in US debt obligations will negatively affect first of all the US itself. Such actions undermine the trust of partners. And this will entail a reduction in the flow of finance, which is harmful to the economy. But for Russia, I think, they can make an exception in the context of anti-Russian hysteria, which makes Washington act contrary to its own interests. Judging by the unanimous vote in the congress, they perceive our country as their main enemy. So, if our assets freeze, we should not be surprised. The main thing, I think, we need to draw the right conclusions from the current situation. Yes, the loss of these billions will be a blow to the Russian economy, but at the top finally think seriously about the long-term economic strategy. This should be thought of first of all, and not about how to repel bonds - in my opinion, this is a "false agenda".
The freeze of billions is the declaration of Russia's war
Who is to blame - more or less figured out. Now let's try to reflect on what to do. "I know exactly what we should not do," says Alexander Dushkin, the manager of the assets of the International Private Investment Fund. - Remind the US Congress that Russia has some US debt securities! After the election of Trump, Congress plunged into chaos, and for some time the congressmen could forget about these papers. But seriously, the new sanctions do not provide for the freezing of assets invested in securities. After all, such actions are, in effect, the declaration of war to a nuclear power! "
Russia should not make any sharp moves, the expert-economist of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladislav Ginko, is convinced: "Moscow has an opportunity to compensate for the loss of $ 109 billion, but this should not be discussed in more detail. America is forcing Russia to act so that it does us harm. The most wrong thing is to be isolated from the world financial market. " This is the opinion of representatives, so to speak, of the liberal camp. But it is noteworthy that a considerable part of their opponents do not see a serious threat in the event. They argue about this: the volume of currency assets in Russia, placed in financial institutions of NATO countries, 1.2 trillion dollars. Let's say they were frozen. But NATO countries in Russia placed at least 1.1 trillion dollars, which we do not need to freeze in return. Completely it does not compensate for our losses, but it will significantly reduce them. To be afraid, in general, there is nothing.
However, there are those who do not share this opinion. This is primarily an advisor to the Russian president, economist Sergei Glazyev. He is convinced that we should act symmetrically on how the Americans act - declare the US an aggressor state and stop lending them by investing in US Treasury bonds. "New sanctions from Washington introduce a ban on buying federal loan bonds," the expert explains, "that is, US lawmakers prohibit their compatriots from lending to the Russian state. Investors who risk investing in Russian securities will be penalized. If our government had accepted the law that Russian investors are forbidden to buy US treasury obligations, then the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank would stop doing it. " According to Glazyev, keeping a stash behind the ocean is primarily unprofitable from the economic point of view - American bonds are low-yielding. But you can not lose sight of the moral aspect - by investing money in US bonds, we credit US government spending. While they could lend their own - that we have, there is nothing more to build or develop? "The American deficit roughly corresponds to their military budget, which is ten times higher than ours," the expert explains. "At the same time, the US behaves extremely aggressively, unleashed a hybrid war against our country. And so far we are losing in this war, which is being waged against us on the monetary, financial, diplomatic and information fronts. "
Andrei PIONTKOVSKY, political scientist:
- This time, Washington struck a truly devastating blow to Moscow, introducing sectoral sanctions, covering primarily the energy and financial sectors. For a long time, the Americans did not aggravate to a critical degree of their relations with the Russian elite, but now they have pricked into the very core of the Russian political system. Will the freezing of Russian assets follow? I think so, but it is unlikely that it will reach the securities of the Central Bank. Faster is the fact that the Russian authorities are kept in America on accounts of "third parties" - and hardly the amount will be much less than 109 billion, invested by the Central Bank in US bonds.
Not all frozen assets are subsequently thawed by the Americans
And how did the countries that had the Americans freeze assets act to us? Only once such actions led to a violent confrontation - in December 1941, when Germany declared war on the United States. Although the comparison here is not entirely correct, it still makes sense to recall how the situation developed. It began with the fact that the Americans, not yet entered the war, contrary to all international treaties began to inform the British about the movements of the German merchant fleet. And the British at first began to drown the Germans, and then - to seize their merchant ships. But Berlin pretended not to see. Further more. The American authorities requisitioned all German merchant ships located in the territorial waters and ports of the United States.
In Berlin they again said nothing. And then in July 1941, President Roosevelt ordered the freezing of all German assets that were stored overseas. There are arrests of German diplomatic property in the US - they start with two dachas (is not it, something painfully reminiscent of it?). And ends with the closure of German consulates. "Patriots" pester Hitler - in fact, how much can you wipe? But he is silent. Let the plutocrat Roosevelt send out our consuls as much as necessary and seal the diplomatic capacity, but we will not sink to similar measures. And then Navy Secretary Knox announced the order to open fire on the military ships of the Axis countries - including the German courts! But after all the war is not declared, in the yard July 41st. However, the Americans, not in the least embarrassed, are drowning several German submarines. As a result, six months later, Hitler decided on an extreme measure, judging that the one who chooses a shame, still gets the war into the bargain.
But in modern history, American sanctions sanctions were no longer resisted - neither Libya, nor Syria, nor Iran. "About the same amount as ours, the States froze from Tehran and Tripoli, and until now there is not everything just with a return," clarifies the situation orientalist Anatoly Nesmiyyan. "Even Iran, which was removed from sanctions, could not regain control of all its foreign reserves beyond the ocean. With Libya is even more interesting - the States use the fact that there is no legal unified government in the country, but because something was defrozen, but not all. Logically: the enemies of the United States must pay victory over themselves out of their own pockets! And how is Russia different? ".