So much for the "Russia is becoming increasingly isolated" meme that the West would like many to believe. As Russia continues to sign de-dollarization deals and trade agreements with its BRICS allies while pushing ahead with retaliatory actions against the US and Europe, it appears the 'sanctioned' friends of Putin are taking matters into their own hands. Billionaire oligarch Gennady Timchenko, among the first to be hit by travel bans and asset freezes by the US, has decided to tear up his Visa and Mastercard, shifting all his credit cards to China's UnionPay, noting that "in some ways it is more secure than Visa - at least the Americans can't reach it."
The Western meme goes something like this...
“Russia risks becoming a pariah state if it does not behave properly,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sky news this week.
However, after various deals with BRICS and Middle East nations, it appears Russia can find plenty of 'friends'.
And now the sanctioned oligarchs and de-dollarizing... (via ITAR-TASS Google Translate)
Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, because of the U.S. sanctions imposed against him in March 2014 after the annexation of the Crimea to the Russian Federation, has replaced by Visa and MasterCard for card payment system China Union Pay and wallet with cash.
Timchenko March 20 was included in the U.S. Treasury list of persons with whom the U.S. companies and citizens have the right to maintain the business relationship, including U.S. registered Visa and MasterCard.
Businessman said that stopped using these cards payment systems. "We'll have to, as before, to carry a purse with cash," - complained Timchenko, adding that also enjoys card Chinese Union Pay.
"As the sanctions imposed, it immediately issued," - he said. "Excellent work! And accept card in many places. In some ways more secure than Visa. At least Americans will not reach" - said Timchenko.
Inclusion of a businessman in the U.S. sanctions list created trouble for the payments and for his wife. "Wife Gennady Timchenko had the surgery and could not even pay for it, because it was blocked accounts and cards," - said Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 17 during his "straight line", describing the incident as a violation of human rights.
Putin learned about this case, held after the announcement of sanctions meeting of the Russian Geographical Society, co-trustee of which is Timchenko. "Vladimir Putin asked how we feel ourselves to new realities. I said, well, all right, but there are nuances. And he told the story that President then mentioned," - said the businessman.
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While Obama hopes that pressure on the oligarchs will creat some civil strife for Putin, we worry that it will merely corner him into survival mode with signioficant repurcussions for the west.