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    It works – don't touch it // How the state interferes with the adaptation of business to new conditions

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    This year’s crises have turned the idea of ​​what state support is good for, especially in cross-border projects. If earlier to enlist it was one of the keys to success, now the situation has become reversed. Solemn statements about certain state ideas that were heard back in the summer, as a rule, resulted in their blocking. On the other hand, the low-profile private initiatives of entrepreneurs, moreover, from both sides of the border, often turned out to be effective and made it possible to establish processes where the state machine had failed.

    For 30 years of new Russian history, state support was practically a guarantee of business success especially in projects abroad. But after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, even just a kind word from officials within the country can come back to haunt the international arena. And the patronage of an entire department in front of foreign contractors risks becoming a disaster for the entire industry.

    For example, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said at the end of June that Russia was counting on China‘s help in the field of microelectronics. “This is problem. How are we going to get out of it? Of course, we will, by hook or by crook, look for exits to these factories. Until we have our own production, it is impossible to make a competitive project. Of course, we are counting on the help of our colleagues in China, who took care of technological sovereignty in this area before us,” he said. In response, a stream of information flowed about the curtailment of the presence in Russia of Lenovo Group, Xiaomi, Huawei. And if before that there was some talk about the supply of chips and even the construction of a plant for their production in the Russian Federation with the help of Chinese comrades, now they don’t even mention it publicly.

    The new rules of the game are even more clearly manifested in the financial sector.

    Even at the beginning of the “special military operation” they worked in ten countries, and not only in the near abroad, but, for example, in Turkey and Vietnam. The Turkish lira with the Mir cards was converted directly from the ruble without double conversion, which is noticeably more profitable than with the cards of the international payment systems (IPS).

    – do not touch”. But, probably with the best of intentions, on May 18, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced that Russia and Turkey had agreed to start accepting the Mir card in Turkish hotels (where it was already accepted), as well as to increase the use of Russian means of payment at ATMs countries.

    And the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Olga Skorobogatova, told SPIEF in June that four more countries could start accepting Mir cards. Officials from other countries that have views of Russian tourists also made their contribution: representatives of Cuba, Iran, Nigeria, Thailand, Egypt, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Malaysia spoke about their readiness or intentions to start accepting Russian cards.

    In As a result, the US Treasury could not stand it and directly warned banks that it was not advisable to cooperate with the Russian payment system, as financial institutions “risk supporting Russia‘s efforts to circumvent US sanctions.” At the same time, the Financial Times reported that the US was focusing on Turkish banks, and Brussels had prepared a delegation to express its concerns directly to the country’s officials. After that, Turkish banks one by one stopped working with Mir cards.

    The Russian Central Bank did not give up, increased its efforts to support the domestic payment system and met with Turkish colleagues to discuss how, against the background of the statements of European and American regulators to solve the problem of tourists who are used to doing without cash in Turkey. After that, Western partners stepped up pressure not only on Turkish banks, but also on the banks of the countries of the former USSR, which began one by one to refuse to cooperate with Mir cards.

    If we talk about the financial sector, then, despite loud statements about their unwillingness to cooperate with the Russians, many banks near and far abroad continued to issue MPS cards to their compatriots. A noticeable number of intermediaries appeared who, although for a higher percentage than before, turned out to be ready to transfer money from Russia abroad.

    acceptance of cards of foreign MPS cards in Russian online stores. In the opposite direction, payments are also going, despite the full power of Western sanctions. They try not to openly ignore strict warnings to foreign banks not to work with Mir cards, which does not prevent merchants from different countries from accepting payments from Russians. For example, including in countries where Mir cards never worked, POS-terminals of Russian banks appeared at trade and service points. Some even accept transfers through the SBP, hiring referred Russians for this.

    And there are many examples of such strategies. After the imposition of EU sanctions against NSD, as a result of which operations on foreign assets of Russian investors were finally frozen, the Central Bank stopped attempts by private brokers to unlock them for non-sanctioned investors, apparently intending to act centrally. However, the situation changed only by winter, after professional market participants began to send individual requests for unlocking to Western regulators. Whether this was the reason for subsequent actions by regulators in Luxembourg and Belgium to issue general licenses to work with these assets is unknown. But it is likely that the silence of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation played an important role.

    There are “specialists” who import cars from neighboring countries and Asia, at the same time promoting blogs on YouTube. Those who imported “unlocked” smartphones, which in Russia have always cost a little more than abroad, did not even have to remember the basics of business. Buyers, who used to fly to Milan for fashion collections, now have the opportunity to significantly expand their assortment with brands that have left Russia, while increasing volume and reducing risk by moving from the elite segment to the mass one. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is distancing itself from such activity – quite likely, this is precisely what is helping the development of alternative trade.

    Almost everywhere where vibrant entrepreneurial creativity has flourished in recent months against the backdrop of demonstrative silence of the state, business is slowly getting better. The authorities of Western countries, trying to block the ways of circumventing sanctions, cannot keep track of all the numerous paths. And why is the state now needed in foreign trade besides replenishing the budget through duties, excises and other restrictions? This is a question.

    How the military actions have changed the Russian market and its participants

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