Comically Putin now wants ‘non-friendly’ states to pay for Russian gas in Roubles. I am not totally expert on the ownership of the gas, the way it is trade but let me lay out why I think that is comical.
Russian gas is produced in Russia, then brought to the ‘market’ to be traded away. That market is run by the banks, who need to finance deals (which is a great way to lock people into fossil btw.). If the gas is sold in Euro the seller of the gas has Euro to spend, if it is sold in Rouble (or Rouble), the seller has Ruble in his her account.
The banks that exchange ruble for Euro or USD of whatever, they now have a lot of spending power in Europe. Of course this can be the russian state bank, but it doesn’t have to be. My question is : How much of those Euro’s and other non-russian currencies end up in the hands of the russian government?
The reason to ask this is because only foreign currencies have real value in russia, especially at the moment. Russia can print all the Roubles it wants any time so it really doesn’t need them. What sense does it make to sell gas and ask something in return that you can create yourself? No seriously?
It seems the ones getting away with a fortune will be the banks that exchange Euro etc. for Roubles. They are left with reserves of Euro they can lend out. They can recieve Rouble reserves from anyone in Russia, so maybe this is a way to secure global financial access to large Rouble holders (oligarchs) in Russia? The state is not likely to profit much, its effectively giving its gas away, because no matter what, Europe can print Euro’s, buy Roubles and have the gas..