US sanctions Russia’s CBR head Nabiullina and other officials

US sanctions Russia’s CBR head Nabiullina and other officials
The US has added CBR Governor Elvira Nabiullina to its list of sanctioned persons. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews October 4, 2022

The US Treasury has announced additional sanctions in response to Russia’s "fraudulent" referenda and subsequent annexations of the occupied regions of Ukraine, with the SDN list now including the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) Governor Elvira Nabiullina, the ex-Minister of Energy Alexandr Novak and hundreds of other Russian officials.

As followed by bne IntelliNews, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in a televised address on September 30 proclaimed the occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya to be part of Russia.

As the Russian financial system was shocked by the post-invasion fall-out in February 2022 Putin reportedly had to personally step in to prevent CBR Governor Elvira Nabiullina from resigning.

Nabiullina was re-appointed for her third five-year term, maintained the rate at 20% and introduced strict capital controls, limitations of capital outflows and mandatory sales of 80% forex revenues for commodity exporters. This has soft-landed the ruble exchange rate and the key interest rate since then has been cut to below invasion levels.

"Nabiullina is extremely competent, and she has surrounded herself with extremely competent advisers," an unnamed central banker told Politico back in April, speaking from experience from multiple encounters with Nabiullina and her team.

Now the treasury argues that “since becoming the Governor of the CBR in 2013, she has overseen its efforts to protect the Kremlin from Western sanctions imposed as a response to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 and further invasion of Ukraine in 2022.”

The latest US sanctions also include the Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Minister of Energy Aleksandr Novak, the families of the Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and the Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu, 109 deputies of the State Duma and 169 members of the Federation Council.

The US Treasury also sanctioned 14 suppliers, including two international suppliers, "for supporting Russia’s military supply chains."

The sanction announcement also contained a warning to other countries supporting Russia's war effort. "Current United States’ export controls on Russia can be applied to entities in third countries that seek to provide material support for Russia’s and Belarus’s military and industrial sectors," the statement said.

Previously, on August 2 the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added sanctioned six prominent Russian billionaires, metals major MMK and alleged “Putin girlfriend” Alina Kabaeva to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN).

In June OFAC added 45 entities and 29 individuals to the SDN list and enacted a gold imports embargo. Among them was the steel tycoon Alexei Mordashev and his family, as well as his investment vehicle Severgroup, one of Russia’s largest steel producers Severstal and gold miner Nordgold.

The US Department of Commerce on June 2 also updated its sanction entity list to include the oil servicing arm of Gazprom Neft, oil major Gazprom Neft Shelf, the Almaz naval engineering bureau and the aviation engineering bureau Ilyushin, and other naval, aviation and military engineering firms.

In May the White House on May 8 tightened restrictions on banks, media and maritime shipping, as well as introduced a ban on consulting and auditing services to Russian nationals. The US Department of Commerce has also added over 200 new entries to the Russian Industry Sector Sanctions, which previously banned exports of equipment for oil and gas extraction.

Previous sanctions by the US included an import embargo on Russian oil and other trade and investment sanctions, sanctioning eight prominent Russian billionairesRussian financial, technology and defence institutionsthe largest Russian banks and crypto assets.