Echo of Donbas: banks report on stability, KFU can lose orbital project with Germans
Russian banks that were imposed sanctions and faced an inflow of clients made several statements last weekend. The financial institutions said they operated as usual and there was no reason for concern. So on Sunday midday, Sberbank sent messages to the users of its application that its system was stable. Nevertheless, economists reflect on how small banks, including Tatarstan ones, can benefit from the disconnection of the largest from SWIFT. The fate of other international projects turned out to be at risk after Russia and Tatarstan lost several sports tournaments. A Russian-German project of Spectrum-RG observatory, which Kazan scientists from Kazan Federal University (KFU) also supervised, is about to end. Also, the Tatarstan authorities have banned all mass events since Monday citing the epidemiological situation.
Messages of Russian banks last weekend
Kazan citizens said that Apple Pay and Google Pay didn’t work in some stores, at petrol stations and taxi last weekend but they could pay for purchases or services with a card. Earlier, the Central Bank had warned about possible problems with these services after the EU and USA imposed sanctions on Russia. Clients were urged to use other ways of payment — cash or a card.
However, Sberbank claimed that it didn’t see problems when their clients paid for goods and services through both their own and partners’ payment services: “They are all running as usual.” The bank also said that its clients could do transactions via Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay. The bank added that neither did they see failures in SberPay, including NFC, Pay QR and facial recognition.
The Central Bank, in turn, claimed amid the sanctions that were imposed and statements that Russia wouldn’t excluded from SWIFT that it had the necessary resources to provide the stability and uninterrupted operation of the financial sector. The regulator gave the audience to understand that the Russian banking system is stable, has enough capital in reserve and liquidity for uninterrupted operation in any situation.
“In any scenario, the Financing Message System provided the communication of finance messages inside Russia. All the money of Russian banks’ clients are available at any moment,” the CB added.
The Bank of Russia promised to continuously provide bans cash and non-cash money in rubles.
Spektr-RG Russian-Germany project with KFU in jeopardy
Spektr-RG space X-ray observatory transferred eROSITA telescope into a safe mode — German specialists did this due to the special operation of Russian troops in Ukraine. Electricity is supplied to the telescope’s key parts but it doesn’t make observations according to a scientific programme, however, it can be switched on anytime, said N + 1 citing a representative of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Spektr-RG was launched into space in summer of 2019, it started circling the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point in a halo orbit. The goal is to observe all the sky in soft and hard X-ray diapasons and create the map of the sky with record sensitivity. For this purpose, two telescopes are installed on its platform, which was created in Russia: Russian ART-XC and German eROSITA. However, head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said that the German side notified the Russian one that it turned eROSITA telescope off.
Astrophysicist and academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Rashid Syunyayev supervises Spektr-RG. Three years ago he told Realnoe Vremya that hundreds of engineers, physicists and astrophysicists in Russia, Germany and even in the US worked on the project of Spektr-RG X-ray observatory, the creation of a satellite and oblique telescopes, the preparation for the launch with the help of Proton-M rocket and D3M booster for many years. While astrophysicists from Kazan Federal University were going to help to identify the objects detected by Spektr-RG. The university needed to provide ground optical support for Spektr-RG observatory with RTT-150 in Turkey.
Changes were made to the decree on anti-COVID-19 restrictions in Tatarstan. A ban on mass events has been imposed since Monday, Tatarstan Prime Minister Alexey Pesoshin signed the document. Given the sanitary and epidemiological situation and the specifics of the spread of coronavirus, “mass events with citizens has been banned since 28 February unless otherwise provided by this decree.”
Also, the Tatarstan Ministry of Health has been tasked to test refugees coming from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics for coronavirus. It is noteworthy that the decree included a ban on “performances and entertaining events including for children and mass events with citizens unless otherwise provided by this decree” since 30 October 2021. At the same time, QR codes to use public transport, go to bowling and computer clubs, shopping malls, cafes and restaurants were cancelled on 21 February. Also retail stores were permitted to work at night.
Smaller banks can benefit after the disconnection from SWIFT
Russia will have to create alternative payment systems after being disconnected from SWIFT, Russian economists warn. According to the specialists, SWIFT can be avoided, since the country has more primitive analogues.
The expert thinks that other consequences can be much more serious that the disconnection from SWIFT. The sanctions imposed by EU countries are driving Russia out of the world economy. For instance, it will be impossible to buy goods in online stores. Also, because of freezing the Bank of Russia’s assets, the country can lose $80-300 billion. Russia’s all $630 billion assets will be restricted.
However, Europe has already said that if needed other Russian banks would also be excluded from SWIFT.