Friday, January 5, 2018

To Avoid Sanctions, Major Russian Banks and Organizations Aren’t Operating in Crimea

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 5 – Alpha Bank’s announcement that it won’t serve Russian defense companies because it does not want to take the risk of falling under Western sanctions ( is calling attention to another way sanctions are affecting the behavior of Russian banks.

            As Novyye izvestiya reports today, despite the annexation of Crimea “almost four years ago, the largest financial structures of [Russia] and not only they as before are refusing to work there out of fear of sanctions” (

            The paper reproduces a report in the Red Elephant telegram channel ( which points out however angry some Russians may be about Alpha Bank’s statement, they should be equally concerned or even more so by the failure of Russian government corporations and banks and also Russian sports organizations to operate in Crimea.

            “Sberbank, VTB and so on do not work in Crimea in order not to fall under sanctions. The Russian football union also has not admitted a single football club of Crimea in the Championship of Russia” – and “all other [Russian] sports federations, from basketball to volleyball” have done the same.

            That raises the question, Red Elephant says. “’Whose Crimea is it?’ And the honest answer is that judging by the practice of state corporations and state banks, and sports federations as a minimum it is not Russian. Such an answer obtains not because you are not a patriot but because those are the facts.”

            And this reflects something Russians are typically unwilling to acknowledge. Within Russia, there are “two parallel economies: the globalized and the autochthonian.  The former is a financial donor of the First World and a recipient of technology and cadres from it; the authochthonian works inside Russia and with our friends, the other outcast nations like Syria, North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Venezuela.”

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