On March 16, Russia made a mandatory external payment on government securities for $117.2 million on sovereign public debt with the permission of the American regulator (National Futures Association, NFA), since the payment was made from the amount of frozen 315 billion dollars on the accounts of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation in accordance with the adopted package of sanctions.
Earlier, the Russian Federation disseminated information to an internal audience that it had prepared a payment order in rubles and would force the West to accept rubles as a means of repayment. This "propaganda" presentation of information was intended to stabilize the internal situation within the country and mitigate the gaps in the work of the financial bloc of the government and the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, in particular. It is known that Russia will be completely deprived of making payments from this amount of frozen money only on May 25th. And the NFA has already taken control of all the movement of money in the frozen account of the Russian regulator.
This time, the NFA granted such a one-time permission to make a payment from the frozen amount. Further, Russia will again await permission from the NFA to make a payment of 640 million dollars on March, 31 and another payment authorization on April, 4 in the amount of $2 billion. Thus, now the Americans have a kind of temporary leverage that allows them to “control the time” of the bankruptcy of the Russian state, and only the NFA practically decides about the time of the default in Russia.
NFA analysts have calculated that in total, Russia must pay $121 billion in state obligations and if the Russian Federation does not repay this debt before the default occurs, then the global banking system will not collapse, but it will be “useful” for this money to be debited from Russia’s accounts, albeit in this order.
A logical question is what's next with the rest of the frozen Russian money. Great Britain, for example, proposes to transfer the frozen gold and foreign exchange reserves of Russia to Ukraine in order to restore the life of the state as a whole after the war with Russia.
In world practice, the transfer of frozen gold and foreign exchange reserves has occurred before. For example, the United States seized $120 billion from Iran. in response to the events of 20 years ago. In 2016, US courts found Tehran responsible for the 1983 attacks on US Marines in Beirut and involved in attacks of September 11, 2011. The court gave the United States authorities the right to withdraw $12.5 billion from the frozen Iranian reserves to pay compensation to American victims, their families and insurers. The fate of the balance of funds is not known to us for certain. But Tehran continues to put this issue of the return of funds on the agenda of negotiations. Thus, this issue was discussed by the P5 + 1 countries (USA, France, Great Britain, Germany, China and Russian Federation) at signing of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in exchange for stage-by-stage cancellation of international sanctions against Iran.
By the way, within the framework of the concluded in 2015 "Iranian deal" Russia received excess enriched uranium from Iran and supplied nuclear fuel to the second unit of the Iranian nuclear power plant in Bushehr. At the beginning of 2022, Russia hoped to resume its role as part of a new nuclear deal, which would allow it not only to “tie” the strongest Muslim state to itself, but also to resist the Anglo-Saxon world domination by united efforts by creating a controlled oil crisis. But now, obviously, these plans are difficult to implement, Western countries will not allow Russia to take part in new negotiations with Iran. And Iran itself, obviously, will not want to run the risk of tightening the American sanctions policy - it is too long and painful to carry this sanctions burden. But Russia will stay, no doubt.
But with the gold and foreign exchange reserves of Russia, an “Iranian option” may occur. The essence of the issue is the transfer of assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation addressed to Ukraine. If we assume that the NFA deducts 121 billion from the frozen $315 billion, then the transfer of $194 billion to one country for the elimination of the consequences of military destruction, the construction of new housing for ordinary Ukrainian citizens, industrial facilities and all the destroyed infrastructure in general, will be a world precedent. For the collective West, such an approach would be acceptable, since for some time it conserves their own deductions / financial assistance to Ukraine to eliminate the consequences of Putin's aggressive policy. It is already quite clear that the West itself feels its own collective guilt for allowing Putin, as Prime Minister Johnson said, ““biting off huge chunks of foreign territory with impunity both in 2008 and 2014, having “spent” time with him at the negotiating table after those bloody events and “not condemning” him properly.”
We can say more and more directly what exactly, and first of all - ex-Chancellor Merkel, followed by French presidents Sarkozy, Hollande and Macron in turn - each made that "terrible contribution" to the growth of Putin's distorted worldview, the formation of a sense of impunity for arbitrariness and murder of citizens in other sovereign territories of European countries, agreed with his aggressive foreign policy and allowed Putin to put European countries on the Russian "gas needle".
It is quite obvious that the Kremlin will not meekly part with such a sum of money and turn to international courts. But after the recognition by all international authorities of the wrongfulness of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, and in fact the war with the deliberate destruction of the civilian population, Moscow has no chance to challenge this decision in the legal field.
The main task of the Ukrainian authorities, starting right now and not stopping in the future, will be systematic and “targeted” diplomatic work with world leaders so that this “correct” proposal from Great Britain is approved by all countries of the world and receives legal status.
It is clear that Russia will try to respond to the countries of the West and the United States with all possible means and resources, the so-called asymmetric methods. Among the most likely are the confiscation and nationalization of the property of Western companies in Russia, they will try to convince the remaining partners, mainly the BRICS countries, Africa and Oceania, to conclude international transactions in Russian or in other currencies, except for the dollar and the euro, and for example, in yuan (according to Siluanov, part of Russia's sovereign gold and foreign exchange reserves are placed in yuan, to which the Russian Federation has access). An example to "imitate" in this direction is Saudi Arabia, which receives a quarter of the amount in yuan when it exports oil to China.
But the main goal of Russia on today's march will obviously be the appropriation of someone else's intellectual property - the nullification of the property rights of foreign patents of legal entities and individuals.
Preliminary calculations by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation show that US intellectual property in Russia is estimated at about $10 trillion, and British - about £100 billion.
But all the supposed strong Russian response to the nationalization of foreign property and intellectual property will have obvious negative legal consequences that will only worsen the current sanctions climate. Their voicing is more designed for ordinary citizens, but the oligarchs Deripaska and Potanin, and partly the head of VEB Shuvalov, have already publicly warned the Russian authorities to refrain from legal nihilism. But if the current sanctions finally "squeeze" the falling economy, the Russian authorities are quite capable of crossing the line.
At present, in order to prevent the fall and level out the Russian economy, the government's economic block is aimed at developing trade relations with China, with the proviso that so-called "Eastern values" should not be excessively penetrated into the country. A telephone dialogue between Biden and Xi Jinping with mutual threats and warnings about the impossibility of providing military assistance to Russia could slow down much-needed contacts for a while. But neither China nor Russia will listen to the American leader - there will be a constant search for a "workaround". At the same time, the two states will pursue different goals: China will buy Russian oil and gas raw materials at dumping prices or even by barter (the Iranian scheme), while Russia simply needs not to lose the oil and gas industry, save jobs and simply survive as a state.
Russia is also considering India as a partner in moving away from dollar settlements, which previously was not against exploring the possibility of introducing an alternative to SWIFT and testing a Russian development - SPFS (Financial Messaging System, the Russian equivalent of SWIFT), which could connect with China's CIPS (Cross-border Interbank payment system, Chinese SWIFT version). Once materialized, linked systems could cover countries under US sanctions or dissatisfied with the global dominance of the dollar.
The Russian authorities have not yet perceived the further path of Russia's development according to the North Korean model. But the time of real threats of using the “nuclear baton” as a “foul of last resort” is not at all excluded, therefore the countries of the collective West must be completely resolute in the fight against Russian great-power chauvinism and not flinch before the nuclear blackmail of the presumptuous “bloody dictator”.