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Russia to step up import substitution activities, senior diplomat says

August 07, 14:24 UTC+3

According to the Russian deputy foreign minister, the country has become accustomed to sanctions

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© Artiom Korotaev/TASS

MOSCOW, August 7. /TASS/. Moscow will step up activities aimed at promoting import substitution and reducing the country’s dependence on the US dollar, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn (or International Life) magazine, published on Monday.

When commenting on the economic consequences of the US sanctions on Russia, he said that "economic matters have good and bad aspects, so we will step up activities aimed at ensuring import substitution and reducing our dependence on the US payment systems and the dollar," he added.

Russia accustomed to sanctions

According to the Russian deputy foreign minister, the country has become accustomed to sanctions. "We have become accustomed to sanctions, as since 2014, there have been almost 30 waves of the US sanctions, nearly 400 Russian companies and around 200 individuals have been blacklisted," he pointed out. "The new sanctions law imposes restrictions on the foreign purchase of Russia’s securities and investment in Russia’s projects, as well as on Russia’s access to unconventional hydrocarbon extraction technologies. The political aspect of this matter is outrageous in many ways, but there are also some other aspects that further overshadow the situation. Nevertheless, Moscow believes that it is still possible to continue working in this situation," the diplomat said.

In his opinion, the low level of trade between Russia and the United States paved the way for the sanctions policy against Moscow. "The low level of trade is rather bad than good, because if it was higher and the US business was more involved, then those politicians who act on the principle ‘the worse it is the better’ would have less opportunities to impose their will on people who may not be very much interested in Russia but have been involved in these processes by Washington’s Russia-haters, who have gone absolutely out of control," Ryabkov said.

Aiming at scaring businessmen

The Russian diplomat also said that the new US sanctions law was aimed "if not at taking the whole world hostage, then at least at scaring it." Ryabkov added that the sanctions law contained a significant number of measures empowering the US Department of the Treasury with special authority to impose new sanctions. "They expect foreign businessmen to get scared and make their choices," the diplomat said "In fact, the main goal of the policy that Russia’s US opponents have adopted is to continue drawing dividing lines."

"We see these games through," Ryabkov stressed. "It is important for us to create functional economic mechanisms in order to reduce our dependence on the US monetary and financial system and the dollar," he added.

"I am not an economist, I don’t represent any companies, and I don’t know how much money our banks have, but as a Foreign Ministry official I can feel it. Otherwise we will remain hooked forever. That is what they need," the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister concluded.

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