Doctor of Economics, Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Society Research Vladislav Inozemtsev, in his new column written for the Kremlyovsky Bezbashennik analytical channel, assessed the position of the Bank of Russia in the situation that has developed in the country's financial market:
“Over the weekend, it became known that the Bank of Russia once again refused to resume trading on the stock market and extended the “vacation” until March 18 – i.e. the exchange will remain closed for at least a month (since, in my opinion, little will change even in a week). In parallel, currency trading takes place at the level of 114-116 rubles per dollar, artificially supported by the regulator (a Tether token equivalent to a dollar is sold for 133-134 rubles).
Of course, you can keep the stock exchange closed for quite a long time (in the Russian Empire it closed on August 3, 1914 and opened again at the beginning of 1917 - but, of course, for a rather short period), assume that the reserves of the Central Bank still amount to $ 643 billion, and take into account collateral for loans at book value as of February 18, 2022. However, such a policy looks, in my opinion, strange for several reasons.
On the one hand, in recent years, the Bank of Russia has seriously improved the entire banking system, “cleansing” financial institutions from the market that had signs of fictitious capital and pursued a risky policy - but with its latest decisions, it allows banks to draw unrealistic balance sheets, do not comply with basic standards and, in fact, do not disclose reporting. It would be more logical, in my opinion, to show the real picture, and then help the banks with liquidity.
On the other hand, even the failure of the stock market (and if it opens, it can reach up to 90% of the closing date on February 18) cannot be compared in its destructiveness with the unknown. It will not change anything serious in the economy (the population has a relatively low involvement in the market and did not carry the last money for it - therefore it is better to know how much your shares are worth than to look at a blocked account). Moreover, the opening of trading will certainly attract speculators, creating the appearance of normality.
What is happening in Russia today resembles the actions of a person who is afraid to find out the truth: does not go to a medical examination, although he notices dangerous symptoms, or turns off the phone, believing that by doing so he solves the problem with creditors who are looking for him. The authorities “talk” problems in conditions when the fastest and most professional actions are needed to solve them. We remember 1998, when the ruble depreciated not by 2, but by 4 times; inflation not at 30, but at 200 percent - and the economy survived, and survived without this endless lie. Domestic entrepreneurs are shelled people, they should not be sent to the front, saying that they are only going to exercises.
V. Putin said recently that maximum economic freedom should be the answer to sanctions. It is difficult to believe in this, but it is still obvious that the basis for such freedom is accurate market information. It's time to say how many reserves of the Bank of Russia are irretrievably lost; whether the National Welfare Fund still exists; open competitive trading in the foreign exchange market, including cash (although the ban on the export of foreign currency should be maintained); launch a stock exchange; disclose full information on the operational filling of the budget, etc. Freedom from the government, I believe, no one expects in Russia. But if the truth cannot be expected from him, then our affairs are very bad..."