War by Other Means

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Prominent German foreign policymakers are proposing that a “double strategy” be applied in the West’s power struggle with Russia. According to Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, the West should continue to demonstrate a “position of strength.” However, because, at this time, Moscow obviously cannot be subdued by a policy of pure confrontation, a new phase of engaging Russia should be initiated. Talks on EU cooperation with the newly established Eurasian Economic Union could be envisaged. Such a cooperation would return the rivalry “between Russia and the West to the economic field, from that of the military,” according to experts. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel had already floated such an option. At the same time, aggression against Russia continues. A US rating agency has just downgraded Russia to “junk level.” Additional measures are in discussion.

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Russia could ditch US dollar in 2-3 years – head of Russia’s #2 bank

Two to three years would be enough time for Russia to switch to international settlements to the ruble, Andrey Kostin, head of Russia’s second-biggest bank VTB, said.

“Two to three years is enough, not only to launch [settlements in rubles], but also to complete these mechanisms. But much will depend on how banks will cope with the task,” Kostin said in an interview with Izvestia newspaper. Continue reading

Russian companies withdraw billions from west, say Moscow bankers

Russian companies are pulling billions out of western banks, fearful that any US sanctions over the Crimean crisis could lead to an asset freeze, according to bankers in Moscow.

Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s giant partly state-owned banks, as well as industrial companies, such as energy group Lukoil, are among those repatriating cash from western lenders with operations in the US. VTB has also cancelled a planned US investor summit next month, according to bankers. Continue reading