The activities of Austrian state-owned companies, which continue to exist in Russia despite the economic sanctions, are controversial – some consider them “reckless”, others – “reasonable”. The fact is that they have a lot of profits thanks to this – describes the ZDF terminal gate on Sunday. up to 50 percent. Currently, international payment transactions from Russia are processed through an Austrian bank.
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Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), a subsidiary of Austrian Raiffeisen Bank, is one of the references The greatest successes of banks in the Russian financial market. Currently, it has about 100 branches and more than 3 million customers in Russia. Nothing has changed since Russia invaded Ukraine. On the contrary, 2022 was a record year for the bank, with profits of €3.6 billion. Since the beginning of the war, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been “considering” withdrawal from Russia, but still does nothing, ZDF asserts.
Most importantly, RBI remains one of the few banks in Russia that can still carry out Swift transactions. It is profitable, because it is from 50 percent. (The Financial Times estimates) Up to 25 percent (according to RBI) of international payment transactions from Russia are currently processed through an Austrian bank.
According to the Austrian newspaper “Der Standard”, there are indications of this The oligarchs from Putin’s circle do business through the Reserve Bank of India – Boris and Arkady Rotenberg (both are on the US and EU sanctions lists). Even the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently wanted to work out how to reconcile Russian sanctions with record profits for the Reserve Bank of India. ZDF adds.
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As the ZDF recalls, in Austria the war in Ukraine had less impact on the economy than in many European countries – “The assets of the Russian oligarchs were reluctantly confiscated, and the government was very lenient when it came to issuing visas to Russians in power.” – reminds ZDF.
Austria explains this through its decades-old policy of neutrality. “Vienna sees itself as a bridge builder, as a place for negotiation (…) In the Austrian understanding, this means maintaining trade relations, even after the war,” ZDF notes. This approach applies particularly to OMV energy concerns – Over the past year, Austria has practically not reduced its purchases of Russian gas, and the current contract for the supply of gas is valid until 2040.
In an interview with Der Standard, the head of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Alexander Schallenberg, stated that “Russia will not disappear, but will remain the EU’s largest neighbor.” Asked about the RBI’s operations in Rosie, he said the company had so far “acted wisely by waiting… while all scenarios are tested.”
“As long as the ruble is flowing into the coffers, this ‘test’ is likely to continue.” – ZDF evaluates and notes that even the imposition of sanctions by the Ukrainian authorities on RBI Bank did not worry, because “Ukraine is a smaller market” than Russia.
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