Disconnection of Russia from SWIFT will cause financial and image losses to this banking system, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF.)
"There are a lot of users in Russia because SWIFT is used for domestic, international, and other payments," Pankin said.
Andrei Kostin, President, and Chairman of VTB Bank Board who delivered a speech at SPIEF the day before, said that the move was unlikely. To hit the Russian banking sector you don’t really need SWIFT, he said, "especially because it belongs to a European company, which means that this issue will require the participation of European governments.”
"Why are we highlighting the SWIFT sanction issue?" Professor Nikita Krichevsky, Doctor of Economics and political writer, said in an interview with wek.ru. “It is you, journalists, who are doing that! On the one hand, we talk about Russia's open economy based on "green" standards and the emerging new power industry free of hydrocarbons. On the other, we do everything to make our economy “closed.” Mr. Chizhov, Russia's permanent representative to the EU, said as recently as yesterday that Russia might be cut off from the SWIFT system, but nobody, not even SWIFT representatives, has ever said that. On the contrary, they said that this issue was not on their agenda because the move would be disadvantageous to Europeans in the first place, not because of their commitment to the principles of fair, transparent and unbiased economy.”
The day before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had to announce that Moscow was not interested in destroying the mechanisms of the international economic system but would draw conclusions as the SWIFT ban threats had been voiced.
"We have a positive trade balance with European countries, by the way, and with the rest of the world too," Krichevsky says. “We export more than we buy, so disconnecting from the SWIFT system is pointless to them. Admittedly, it could be an issue if things were the other way round.”
However, the predicted disconnection from this international payment system will be a self-inflicted blow to the "collective West." SWIFT will “shoot itself in the foot” if it disconnects Russia, said Anatoly Aksakov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Financial Market. Apparently, this double-edged issue will have to be solved by joint efforts both in Russia and Europe.