MOSCOW (Realist English). In the countries neighboring Russia, issuance of bank cards has increased sharply. Why would that be? There are five reasons: 1) banal export of capital, 2) parallel import, 3) so-called “relocants” (fugitives from mobilization, hipster scooters), 4) withdrawal of Visa and Mastercard from the Russian market, 5) the transition of migrant workers to official channels of sending money due to currency restrictions in the Russian Federation.
Most cards were issued in Tajikistan (an increase of 45.5%), Kyrgyzstan (+37%), Uzbekistan (+26%), Armenia (+18.7%), Azerbaijan (+18.3%), Belarus (+15%), Kazakhstan (+8.3%), Georgia (+4.6%).
The data on the issuance of cards partly correlate with the outflow of financial resources from Russia to friendly border countries, which increased significantly in 2022. In total, transfers of individuals exceeded $22 billion. This is a very significant part of the national wealth, which (as experts say) hurts the most the consumer demand and purchasing power in the domestic market. The leader in terms of transfers from Russia is Uzbekistan ($14.5 billion), followed by Armenia ($3.1 billion), Kyrgyzstan ($2.6 billion), Georgia (about $2 billion), Kazakhstan ($775.4 million) by a huge margin.
Statistics of the cross-border transfers largely reflect the important functionality of the Eurasian partnership. The service of purchasing the sanctioned goods abroad is actively used, through the system of sales agents. Funds are sent to intermediary cards at the same time. In the gray zone, this amount is transferred from the “bright” payment system to the “dark” one. Perhaps this requires more than one card and more than one transaction.
There is one more factor that, in our opinion, is insignificant. But nonetheless. Those who have savings in dollars and euros prefer not to keep them in Russian banks because of large fees. It is more profitable to transfer them to the banks of friendly countries, having previously acquired local plastic cards.