Until last year, Russia was the world’s top exporter of gas, grain and fertilizers, the second largest oil exporter and the seventh largest gold and diamonds. After nine packs sanctions European NATO member states are now poised for the next phase: closing the gold and diamond trade routes that bring tens of billions of dollars a year to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
The Gold Rush”
Just two years ago, Russia had recorded a turnover of almost 17.5 billion dollars (customs data from the Moscow Ministry of Finance, editor’s note). gold exports: We are talking about 302 tons. In the past six months, the United States, Britain, Canada and Japan, and then the European Union, have banned gold purchases from Russia. All in vain, or almost: Exporters “friends” of Moscow have started their work thanks to triangulations by Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. And it’s only one Istanbul or Dubai that Western governments want to increase the pressure in the coming weeks.
“Nothing comes from diamonds”?
A diamond is forever, of course, but also for Russia? The West craves diamonds, buys a lot of them in Moscow, but things have changed since the war began. The United States has imposed 10-month sanctions on Alrosa, the world’s largest gem mining company, 33% controlled by the Russian government and responsible for almost a third of world exports. But other companies from Russian diamonds They have not been banned by either the United States or the Union with nine sanction packages so far.
Now, however, the Americans seem determined to exert some pressure. Antwerp handles the contracts, but many of Russia’s rough diamonds physically arrive in Mumbai, India, where they are processed and then re-exported, often (legally) losing the mark of origin. This even circumvents American sanctions. The Belgian government seems ready to change.
A year ago, Putin had reserves of $640 billion and a trade surplus of around $220 billion. In 2023 the situation looks different. With 300 billion in frozen reserves and even banned gold, Moscow must have the equivalent of reserves this year no more than $100 billion. The turnover of all Putin exports will probably more than halve this year.