The cast of Succession gets a SAG award — in Russia SAG succeeds you! Was ‘negging’ invented by Bugs Bunny, because Putin’s getting a lot of it. Not so S.W.I.F.T., as Russian assets will get sanctioned and seized beginning this week, unfortunately not the one at Mar-a-Lago.
Airspace closed to Russian planes
Belarus is preparing to send soldiers into Ukraine in support of the Russian invasion in a deployment that could begin as soon as Monday, a U.S. administration official said Sunday evening.
“It’s very clear Minsk is now an extension of the Kremlin,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive security development.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he has allowed Russian troops to assemble in Belarus and conduct large-scale military drills there. If Belarus joins the Russian invasion, it would significantly complicate proposed talks between Russia and Ukraine, which the two sides had planned to hold at the Ukrainian border with Belarus.
“We will be happy if the result of these negotiations is peace and the end of the war,” Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations said, reading a statement to reporters. “But I emphasize again, we will not give up. We will not capitulate. We will not give away an inch of our territory.”
If the strict measures are carried out, they will likely devastate the already shaky Russian economy, and will create incentives for wealthy Russians and some Russian businesses to find ways around them. Here are three strategies that are probably already in place and likely to grow:
Blockchain transfers. It can be argued that surreptitious money transfers are precisely why cryptocurrency exists. There is next to nothing that Western governments can do to prevent the transmission of digital currencies in and out of Russia.
Pivot to China. China’s absence from the economic sanctions coalition is conspicuous. Although the relationship between China and Russia is hardly perfect, Chinese authorities might see some benefit from helping Russia out. At least a trillion dollars of Russian wealth is held in Western banks.
Passports for sale. If it eventually becomes impossible for a Russian oligarch to open a bank account in, say, Malta, a simple solution presents itself. Typically, when you open a European bank account, you are asked to present a passport, but rarely are you asked to present all your passports. And so if you obtain and present a Maltese passport, the bank will be hard-pressed to prove that you are a Russian citizen.
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