West keeps significant leverage of pressure on Russian economy up its sleeve, says economist

15 September, 09:45 PM
Sergey Aleksashenko (Photo:NV)

Sergey Aleksashenko (Photo:NV)

The decision of the West to freeze the reserves of Russia’s Central Bank was only a half-measure, and there is more it could do to pressure Moscow, former Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Aleksashenko said in an interview with NV published on Sept. 14.

"A year ago, I believed that freezing the Central Bank's reserves was a very serious measure (of sanctions against Russia)," said Aleksashenko, the former First Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Russian Central Bank, who now lives in the United States.

"But I always said that it would work only together with the freezing of correspondent accounts of Russian banks.”

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Aleksashenko said that if Washington and European authorities only froze the Central Bank's reserves, but not the correspondent accounts of banks, "it will have no impact on the state of the Russian economy."

To achieve maximum effect, it was necessary to completely isolate all Russian banks, Aleksashenko stressed.

Asked why the West did not dare to take such a step, the economist said: "I don’t know why they didn’t do it. The answer was as follows: what they agreed on, they agreed on."

In late May it was reported that the EU countries had frozen assets of the Russian Central Bank worth $24 billion.

This is significantly less than the $100 billion frozen by the United States.

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