Why the decision of Sberbank and VTB to start working in Crimea is so important

Probably the main economic news the beginning of 2023 is the decision of Sberbank, as well as VTB, to start working in the Crimea. With a delay of almost nine years, the largest Russian state-owned banks are finally coming to the peninsula. Why is this event so important?

Already possible

The press service of the credit institution said that Sberbank has actually already begun its work in Crimea:

Sberbank has formed a team and is starting to work on the Crimean peninsula. The first ATMs of the bank have already been installed, within a year the network of self-service devices will start operating throughout the peninsula. Gradually, during 2023, the bank's offices will be opened.

It is reported that branches of the largest Russian bank with state participation will open in Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol. The head of VTB, Andrey Kostin, also announced his arrival on the peninsula:

We will work in Crimea, of course, but for now on the basis of the RNCB, when its transition to the VTB Group is completed in the first quarter.

Why is it so important? This issue has two dimensions - the obvious and the non-obvious. The simplest explanation is that the leadership of the systemically important state-owned banks finally heard President Putin’s call for businesses to start working in Crimea, which he made back in March 2022:

Now there are all conditions for large Russian business structures, which, frankly, used to be afraid of some kind of sanctions... Now they have nothing to fear. Now they can safely come, including banks, by the way, to the peninsula and work actively in the region.

Recall that since 2014, the head of Sberbank German Gref has de facto refused to recognize Crimea and Sevastopol as new Russian regions with the following thoughtful formulations:

Why do you think we do not work in Crimea? We were there before this whole situation, until 2014. Can you imagine what the issue price is for Sberbank? This is a question of the entire financial system of the country, the competitiveness of the country as a whole... There is no such scheme that would allow us to work without falling under the entire pool of sanctions, such a scheme is unknown to me... There are no such schemes. If there were such schemes, we would definitely be there. And the choice on the scales is to receive the entire set of sanctions and doom the country to this, or withdraw from Crimea.

And this was the official position of the head of a backbone credit institution, in which 50% plus 1 share, that is, a controlling stake, belongs to the National Wealth Fund, which, in turn, is controlled by the Russian government!

In the absence of Sberbank and other major players, the Crimean market was divided among themselves by the Russian National Commercial Bank, or RNKB, Black Sea Bank for Development and Reconstruction JSC, Genbank JSC, and Joint Stock Bank Rossiya JSC. Promsvyazbank, an official partner of the Russian Ministry of Defense, was the first of the significant banks to come to the peninsula in 2022, and now Sberbank and VTB have followed it, the latter decided to work through the RNKB network. Gref and Kostin thought for a long time, for a very long time.

In 2014, after the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia, Sberbank transferred its branch network to RNKB, but still fell under Western sanctions, but they were moderate. On February 24 last year, Sberbank was included by Washington in the CAPTA sanctions list, and already in April it came under severe blocking restrictions, which imply a complete disconnection from the dollar system by the United States, the European Union and Great Britain. The leading Russian state-owned bank lost its assets in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia and was forced to sell its Swiss subsidiary m3 Groupe Holding SA. Also, Western sectoral sanctions were imposed against VTB, Promsvyazbank and a number of other domestic credit institutions.

This is what lies on the surface. But the most interesting thing is that usually remains hidden.

Nomenclature opens eyes?

I would like to consider the decision of Sberbank and VTB to start work in the sanctioned Crimea not separately, but in conjunction with a recent program article by the disgraced Ukrainian policy and oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, which we disassembled earlier where the following was said:

So, Russia takes Western democracy as a model, carries out reforms and begins to integrate into the Western world. From the point of view of building a common European home, this should be welcomed and encouraged. Europe gets a peaceful and economically prosperous partner, its markets, resources, which undoubtedly strengthens it by an order of magnitude. But if we are guided by colonial thinking, then we will not tolerate economic growth and independence of a distant colony. The provinces should not overtake the mother country financially, politically, or culturally….

And how should Russia treat this? After all, she honestly ended the Cold War, but the United States and NATO, it seems, did not. It turns out that the unification with the West prepared for it is not on equal terms, but on conditions of economic and political absorption. Hence the demands of Moscow to stop moving towards the borders of Russia and to revise positions and agreements. And now we are seeing that the NATO concept has destroyed not only the integration of Russia into Europe, but also put an end to the expansion of Europe and its development. That is, of the two approaches that we present here, one clearly defeated the other.

Viktor Medvedchuk in this matter acts as the mouthpiece of the post-Soviet ruling nomenklatura, both Russian and Ukrainian. Yes, our country is ruled by President Putin, but in reality it is ruled by a nomenklatura, which is an organic symbiosis of top managers of state corporations, "kings of state orders" and officials in high offices. It is they who control the largest Russian enterprises and the main financial flows, they also determine what is now called "national interests."

For the previous 30 years, the domestic ruling nomenklatura lived in the paradigm of the need to integrate into the Western world on Western rules, and Russia was considered by it as a place where you can quickly and easily earn superprofits. Here German Oskarovich did not want to work in the sanctioned Crimea, and no one could force him to do it. No one, except for the "Western partners" themselves, who actually robbed Sberbank and forcibly brought it out of the "civilized" financial system. The "white gentlemen" showed the "native kings" that for them those same "natives", even dressed up in European business suits.

Medvedchuk's public "repentance" and the decision of Gref and Kostin to start working in Crimea may serve as evidence of much more serious domestic political processes than it might seem at first glance. Perhaps this is the beginning of the process of searching for a new identity and a new place for the national nomenklatura, or rather, its sensible part, in the changed world.
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  1. Colonel Kudasov Offline Colonel Kudasov
    Colonel Kudasov (Leopold) 20 January 2023 12: 18
    With a delay of almost nine years, the largest Russian state-owned banks finally come to the peninsula

    Correctly. Better late than never
  2. Vladimir80 Offline Vladimir80
    Vladimir80 20 January 2023 12: 42
    state-owned banks came to Crimea (after a kick from the state), they show that "we will not surrender Crimea, hoh.lam", thanks - people's confidence has increased (sarcasm)
  3. Jacques sekavar (Jacques Sekavar) 20 January 2023 13: 08
    A controlling stake in a savings bank belongs to the main bank of the Russian Federation, but the position of the main shareholder states that the main bank is not liable for the obligations of the state - how is that? Perhaps all of its subsidiaries, including the savings bank, VTB and others, have become unresponsive? Toda's question is - what are the basis and how are the relations of the state and its main bank with all its structures built if they are actually independent of the state and pursue their own policy independent of the state and ignore individual subjects of the federation, in particular Crimea, where, as it were, they should have opened branches yet in 2014, immediately after its entry into the Russian Federation.
    1. Alexey Lan Offline Alexey Lan
      Alexey Lan (Alexey Lantukh) 20 January 2023 22: 51
      The controlling stake no longer belongs to the Bank of Russia, but belongs to the Russian government. By the way, friends went to the Crimea. There were no problems with bank cards.
  4. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 20 January 2023 14: 10
    This news is 8 + 1 years late, so it doesn't really say anything.
    Everyone has already managed to poke their fingers smiling several times. And forget as useless.
    Only the Old Man, the media mentioned, had a few statements about this shame ..

    But in real life - while some are touched by the photo, they decided to "start", the kings of life without much publicity are buying up real estate in the Emirates and Turkey ......
  5. Vladimir Golubenko (Vladimir Golubenko) 20 January 2023 14: 51
    And why is Gref still not in prison? This bastard betrayed and betrays Russia, not to mention the bank. And now the bank is BEAC with many foreigners in the leadership. Judge!!! Plant!!! Confiscate everything for the benefit of the state.
  6. kriten Offline kriten
    kriten (Vladimir) 21 January 2023 12: 35
    I can’t even believe that it has become permissible for a US citizen Gref to work in Crimea with Sberbank, contrary to the opinion of his homeland?
  7. Alexey Davydov Offline Alexey Davydov
    Alexey Davydov (Alexey) 22 January 2023 00: 03
    Public "repentance" ...... and decision ..... can serve .... much more ..... than it may seem ...... Perhaps .....

    For those who have lived in Russia all these years, just indecent to harbor such hopes regarding the nomenclature and power.
    I think that this is not only beyond common sense, but also beyond reason. It is already obvious to everyone that this government is not able to save us and Russia. It's time to take it seriously and make smart decisions. The enemy won't wait
  8. Alexander Ponamarev (Alexander Ponamarev) 22 January 2023 04: 08
    People like Gref will not give development to our country, but we still have a lot of these bastards
  9. Pro100 Offline Pro100
    Pro100 (Vladimir Babaev) 22 January 2023 09: 43
    This is where the paradox lies. If it weren't for the sanctions, they probably wouldn't have waited for this news. As they say, there is no evil without good.
  10. Scharnhorst Offline Scharnhorst
    Scharnhorst (Scharnhorst) 22 January 2023 13: 23
    As a Crimean, I won’t put a penny into this filthy Sberbank, and maybe I’ll go out with a picket against its nearest branch. When all decent bankers left Crimea under pressure, corrupt Gref with his Bank licked the ass of the Ukronazi regime to the last, endured pogroms of branches in Ukraine, but still did not enter Crimea. A traitorous structure has no place in the Russian Crimea! Boycott and ostracism!
  11. Plmhj Offline Plmhj
    Plmhj (Ivan Grom) 16 February 2023 13: 38
    At the top there will be a purge of the 1937 model. It is no longer possible to leave big money in the hands of Abramovich, Aven! the consequences are clear! Gref figured it out in time!