Back in 2013, The NSA was first exposed for secretly ‘monitoring’ the SWIFT payments flows. This appears to have been among the last straws for Russia (and others) as far as both NSA spying and dollar domination.
Last year, following threats to remove Russia from SWIFT by the UK, (which SWIFT rapidly distanced its ‘independent-self’ from), Russia (and China) announced plans to create its own de-dollarized version. In November, Russia detailed the SWIFT-alternative’s launch date around May 2015, and just last month, Medvedev warned of “unlimited reaction” if Russia was cut off from the SWIFT payments system.
So the news this week that Russia has launched its own ‘SWIFT’-alternative, linking 91 credit institutions initially, suggests de-dollarization is considerably further along than many expected (especially as Russia dumps US Treasuries at a record pace).
Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network.
The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia.
It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT.
Joining the global interbank system in 1989, Russia has become one of the most active users of SWIFT globally, sending hundreds of thousands of messages per day. In general, SWIFT provides a secure communication network for more than ten thousands of financial institutions around the world, approving transactions of trillions of US dollars.
Earlier this month Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov expressed confidence that Russia would not be disconnected from SWIFT. In her turn, Russian Central Bank First Deputy Chair Ksenia Yudaeva called upon Russian civilians and financial institutions not to dramatize the current situation.
Russian experts point to the fact that Western businesses would face severe losses if they expelled Russia from the international SWIFT system. On the other hand, the alternative system launched by Russia might reduce the negative impacts caused by measures imposed by the West, including possible disconnection from SWIFT, and diminish Western financial dominance over Russia.
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SWIFT (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a Belgium-based international organization that provides services and a standardized environment for global banking communicating that allows financial institutions to send and receive messages about their transactions.
The core of SWIFT’s work is a secure financial messaging service that communicates payment orders to be settled at correspondent accounts — accounts that one financial institution holds with another financial institution.
The network has become key to the functioning of Russia’s financial system since the first bank began to use the service in 1989.
About 360,000 such messages are sent daily, making Russia the second most prolific user of SWIFT in the world, the head of SWIFT in Russia, Roman Chernov, told a conference last year, according to RIA Novosti. Over 600 Russian financial institutions use SWIFT, which saw a 40 percent growth in its traffic in 2014, he said.
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