The unexpected truth about the billions 'stolen' from Russia

The unexpected truth about the billions 'stolen' from Russia

One of the most popular and debated arguments is the West's theft of Russia's foreign reserves and, consequently, the blaming of the liberal bloc government for placing them. I am far from a supporter of liberalism, in fact I am an irreconcilable opponent of it, but it is still worth getting to the bottom of the myths and propaganda.

I do not have a very deep knowledge of economics, although I have studied the classics of liberalism and Marxism and, with particular zeal, the heterodox economic theories: John Maynard Keynes, Silvio Gesell, Giovanni Arrighi, Friedrich List, Joseph Schumpeter, Leon Walras and, of course, my favourite, Ezra Pound. I have a book called The End of Economics and several articles on the subject. Yet the field is little known to me, and if it is interesting it is from a philosophical and sociological point of view. So I could be wrong and I ask the more knowledgeable experts to correct me.

The image of foreign exchange reserves in the West is portrayed as a transport of gold bars in exchange for interest or some other mechanism to obtain additional financial means from their storage. Of course, all people versed in economics know that nothing of the sort happened. Nobody transported ingots to the West.

But already at the first stage there were objections to placing gold reserves in the West: why withdraw funds from Russia? Let the funds be injected into our economy. This was argued in detail by our economists Sergey Glazyev, Valentin Katasonov, Mikhail Delyagin, Mikhail Khazin and others.

Elvira Nabiullina replied: if we let money into the Russian economy, this will lead to inflation and, consequently, to unevenly rising prices and income. In other words, everything will be worse. As for the currency board, i.e. the rigid pegging of the rouble to the global reserve currency (in fact, to the dollar), everything is so and Nabiullina is right. But there is a way out: the two-ring model of the financial system proposed by Sergey Glazyev and later adopted by Alexander Galushka - which existed, as Galushka shows in his book Crystal of Growth, under Stalin, Roosevelt and Yalmar Schacht.

Whenever this model was applied completely independently of the dominant economic dogma, the economies of these countries - with very different ideologies - skyrocketed. Let us remember this two-ring argument, the most serious one that can be made. The rest is Soviet inertia or populist 'give the people their money' demagoguery.

Nabiullina's logic prevailed and the foreign exchange reserves were placed in the West - to generate profits and not create inflation. The patriotic economists were not listened to.

Now the popular image is that the Russian gold has disappeared, and after the start of the UAS it has been seized by the enemies and is in danger of being handed over to the Nazi regime in Kiev to continue killing our citizens, slaughtering not only the fighters but also the civilian population - women, the elderly and children. It turns out that Nabiullina is either unfit or a traitor. But was there gold?

Let us read the classic definition: 'Gold and foreign exchange reserves are highly liquid assets that are under the control of the monetary authorities. What does this mean? It means that foreign exchange reserves are not necessarily gold or not gold at all. They are financial liabilities, securities. It is even more complicated: it is the purchase of Western bonds and complex financial transactions.

The obligations associated with these securities are considered ironclad, but that is under normal circumstances. After the SMO there was a state of emergency. This is not the case. Under normal conditions no one would blow up a pipeline. This meant that all obligations - primarily economic ones - faltered and collapsed.

So, we did not put something concrete and tangible in the West, but merely signed up to complicated financial schemes. It is much less concrete and tangible than Nord Stream.

Yes, we vouched for them, but the West also vouched for many things they did not care about. Considering this, there are no Russian trillions in the West, and even if there were something, if we wanted to guarantee it, it would be worth nothing.

All our wealth stays with us and above all: we, no matter what, can issue in full sovereignty - all the money we want to print. All wealth is ours and we have an infinite amount of money.

Nabiullina is justified, unless, of course, she is in favour of victory and has so far said nothing against victory. Correct me if I am wrong.

Nabiullina, however, has a different problem: she is a staunch supporter of monetarism and currency board policy. For her, therefore, the obligations of the Russian Central Bank to the West, and thus to the Fed, are sacrosanct, and monetary issuance should only be single-cycle and tied to the reserve currency. In this case - and only in this case - Russia owes the West what it has taken from it. That is, someone took a receipt from you, then burnt down your house, killed your family and is demanding repayment as if nothing had happened. This is where the monetarist (Nabiullina) has a dilemma:

  • - whether to continue to behave monetaristically with the rapist and murderer, honouring agreements no matter what;
  • - or consider the commitments broken after what the West has done to the pipeline, to our reserves and in general?

If one considers that we remain loyal to monetarism and the global rules that the West itself, which established them before, has just grossly violated, then Russia is engaging not only in legal theft, but also in funding a direct enemy to kill the Russian people. That is, it is either homeland or monetarism.

A second very similar choice. Suppose the Central Bank sends the West packing and says that the gold and foreign exchange reserves deposited there simply do not exist and that Russia has no obligation to do so. This means that the budget will be replenished with the stolen money and Ukraine will be armed with funds printed in the US. And they will have to deal with this on their own.

Here again, however, there is a conflict with the currency board doctrine: throwing the returned funds into the Russian economy, which can be returned with a snap of the fingers (because we haven't actually given anything real away), is like triggering inflation, and this is where the two-ring system of the patriot economists comes in handy. Putting funds in the strategic loop and spending them only on defence, strategic projects and long-term infrastructure, and preventing these extra funds from entering the general financial system, will have no effect on inflation.

Again, monetarism or homeland.

There is an important point to be made here: everyone knows that the placement of foreign reserves has nothing to do with taking real wealth out of the country, neither with gold nor with anything else in particular, but in any case Russia is a sovereign power and can, given the second circuit, issue as much currency as it wants. With the same gold and foreign currency reserves that we consider our own, or just let them go out and put in the second circuit and for stealing and manipulating this circuit, a special punishment. Especially since we are outside the ECHR. Stealing from the front of a country at war: what is the penalty?

What's my point? If I am right, then Nabiullina, being a monetarist, has not yet made a fatal mistake and committed a crime. Only now the Central Bank and the government's financial bloc are faced with a real dilemma. I have already formulated it: monetarism or life. Just accept the two-circuit model and you will immediately discover that Russia has not lost any foreign currency reserves. This will immediately become glorious. This means that the government did not make any irreparable mistakes on the eve of the SMO. Everything was taken into account. Nabiullina, the Central Bank and the entire government economic bloc are justified. Go and sin no more (monetarism).

However, this is the decisive moment when Nabiullina must abandon the monetarist dogma, the currency board. No, she has not lost any foreign exchange reserves yet, but she could lose them. Now. If Nabiullina sticks to monetarist dogma, she will indeed (to the future!) betray the motherland. Then everything the patriotic economists say about her will be true. But let's be honest: for now, her monetarism is not yet a crime. Tomorrow it will become a crime - or perhaps it will. Or maybe it won't.

Let us spare Nabiullina. It is not necessary for her to renounce liberalism, market freedom or the general vectors of financial policy (in my opinion, she could very well renounce them, so much goodness is not spared, but that is up to her discretion). It is simply necessary to put the interests of the state, i.e. sovereignty, above the conditional world community, from which the West is stubbornly trying to throw Russia out. You cannot force someone to do something nice. You don't want Russia in your system? Then we leave proudly, slam the door and say: we owe you nothing more.

We have to win, then in the market we will see, maybe we will listen to Nabiullina but only after victory, now is the time to break. We did not want this, but the West has cut us off from itself. In this situation it is silly to insist that no matter what, 'we are part of the West'. Not any more. In fact, we never were, but there is no need to pretend now. Everything is very clear.

This is what is required of Nabiullina in economics: just a return to mercantilism (the state monopoly on foreign economic activity) and the Keynesian principle of 'economic insularity' (which saved the American economy under the New Deal and in World War II). Mercantilism is technically synonymous with economic sovereignty.

And, of course, the two-loop issuance model: for purely pragmatic purposes, for the sake of Victory.

And in the rest there is monetarism (I do not like it, but if Nabiullina likes it and it is not fatal for the country, then so be it), but on a limited scale. Not total dogmatic liberalism, not a currency board, but a market in the name of power and the people. A market for Victory. I would go further, as far as Pound and Gesell, and abandon interest capital altogether in favour of orthodox socialism. But this is just a dissenting opinion.

Here is Nabiullina's salvation. However, the choice is now hers: loyalty or betrayal, the head of the Central Bank is called upon to solve the problem herself. Only now, yesterday does not count. The past is in the past and is easily excused, but what about today?

Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini