The Russian media are spreading information that supposedly European buyers have begun paying for gas on new conditions. In particular, RIA Novosti informs that the euro exchange rate is falling, and the Russian ruble is strengthening precisely due to the fact that Europeans seem to be paying for gas in rubles. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation D. Medvedev said that Europe would not last even a week without Russian gas. He wrote about this in his Telegram, commenting on the EU statement that it allegedly allows payments for Russian gas in rubles. All these statements are yet another manipulation and continuation of the Russian gas blackmail, to which the EU countries have become hostages.
Putin’s March 31 demand stipulates that European gas buyers open two accounts, one in foreign currency and the other in rubles. Gazprombank will be responsible for converting the foreign currency into rubles and transferring the payment in rubles to Gazprom. Such a new scheme, which the Russian Federation tried to sell to the EU countries, provides for the opening of a new foreign currency and ruble account for buyers in Gazprombank. Thus European countries must pay for gas to an intermediary company that would convert the currency into rubles and transfer them to Gazprom’s account. Most EU countries refused to participate in such a scheme. In particular, Italy and Germany – the largest consumers of Russian gas in Europe – refused to pay in rubles, saying that this was against the conditions of existing contracts. Among European buyers, Hungary and Moldova, whose leaders are known for their support of any Putin’s actions, agreed to the Kremlin’s adventure.
On April 8, V. Putin held a video meeting on economic issues, during which he stressed separately on the topic of inflation. “Now it is stabilizing, but over the past month and a half, consumer prices in Russia have risen significantly – by 9.4 %, and in annual terms, as of April 8, inflation was 17.5 %,” he said. Putin assured that the sanctions did not seem to have caused significant damage to the Russian economy, but allegedly, just in case, it was decided to raise the wages of state employees, as well as to index all social benefits. Putin also stressed that other Russians would not feel the change because they were paid in rubles. Based on these indicators, any economist will notice that Russia is on the path of hyperinflation. Without opening the stock market, the Russian government turns on the printing machine to start distributing unsupported rubles. And, of course, continuing their gas blackmail, hoping to get favorable preferences for themselves.
The EU rejected Russia’s demand to pay for natural gas supplies in rubles. In addition, the EU is preparing for a possible cessation of gas supplies from Russia. Since the beginning of April, the Baltic countries – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – have completely abandoned natural gas from Russia. It was Russia’s statement that it would be possible to pay for natural gas supplied by it only in Russian rubles, which became a signal to drastically reduce supplies from the Russian Federation, since they can no longer be relied upon.