Long queues at ATMs, looking for rubles but above all for dollars, which are increasingly difficult to find. For some days this has been a usual scene in major Russian cities; in the last few hours the queues have grown again after the new, heavy financial sanctions approved by the G7 countries and by the entire European Union which exclude some Russian banks from the Swift international payment system and freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Moscow held in the abroad.
“I was in line for an hour, but the foreign currency disappeared everywhere, just rubles,” Vladimir, a 28-year-old programmer, told Bloomberg as he waited in a long line at an ATM in a shopping mall. Fly. “I moved late because I didn’t think all this could happen. I’m in shock. “
The rush to dollars has not been slowed down even by the “punitive” exchange rate offered by some banks, which in some cases exchange currencies well over 100 rubles for one dollar, against an official exchange rate of 83.7.
The widespread fear is that on Monday, when trading opens, the Russian currency will collapse on the markets, in a “panic selling” of which the first hints are seen in the past week.
The exchange rates offered by the banks on Sunday 27 February already reflect the great uncertainty: they range from 98.08 rubles per dollar of Alfa Bank to 99.49 of Sberbank, up to 105 of Vtb Group and 115 rubles of Otkritie Bank.