Will the financial system survive the banking sanctions on Russia? Probably not. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Biden, finally, has his foreign policy ‘success’: Europe is walling itself off from Russia, China, and the emerging integrated Asian market.
In its triple strike of sanctions on Russia, the EU initially was not looking to collapse the Russian financial system. Far from it: Its first instinct was to find the means to continue purchasing its energy needs (made all there more vital by the state of the European gas reserves hovering close to zero). Purchases of energy, special metals, rare earths (all needed for high tech manufacture) and agricultural products were to be exempted. In short, at first brush, the sinews of the global financial system were intended to remain intact.
The main target rather, was to block the core to the Russian financial system’s ability to raise capital – supplemented by specific sanctions on Alrosa, a major player in the diamond market, and Sovcomflot, a tanker fleet operator.
Then, last Saturday morning (26 February) everything changed. It became a blitzkrieg: “We’re waging an all-out economic and financial war on Russia. We will cause the collapse of the Russian economy”, said the French Finance Minister, Le Maire (words, he later said, he regretted).
That Saturday, the EU, the U.S. and some allies acted to freeze the Russian Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves held overseas. And certain Russian banks (in the end seven) were to be expelled from SWIFT financial messaging service. The intent was openly admitted in an U.S. unattributable briefing: It was to trigger a ‘bear raid’ (ie. an orchestrated mass selling) of the Rouble on the following Monday that would collapse the value of the currency.
The purpose to freezing the Central Bank’s reserves was two-fold: First, to prevent the Bank from supporting the Rouble. And secondly, to create a commercial bank liquidity scarcity inside Russia to feed into a concerted campaign over that weekend to scare Russians into believing that some domestic banks might fail – thus prompting a rush at the ATMs, and start a bank-run, in other words.
More than two decades ago, in August 1998, Russia defaulted on its debt and devalued the Rouble, sparking a political crisis that culminated with Vladimir Putin replacing Boris Yeltsin. In 2014, there was a similar U.S. attempt to crash the Rouble through sanctions and by engineering (with Saudi Arabian help) a 41% drop in oil prices by January 2015.