Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Russia changes currency exchange rules

A lot of commotion in the news, Russia tightens screws on currency exchanges (RT) ,  various conspiracy theories were discussed by BBC in Russian  , etc, etc.  

Not that much actually happened. The Russian anti-terrorism law full version , August 2001,  N115-ФЗ ) was written back in 2001, and nothing changed there.  That law of 2001 still governs  operations above 15,000 rubles ( $ 207 , or  190  , at the current exchange rate). 

The new law is about ID required for currency operations above that amount, and basically leaves it to the banks to decide (full text15.10.2015 N 499-П) . It may be as simple as asking for a passport for a currency exchange operations above 15, 000 rubles, and fill in a questionary,  with questions of the sort they ask to open an account (like address, employer details, insurance number, phone number).  

So far, the banks said that they do not plan for any hassle, and there is no evidence that they are doing anything too creative. 

Commotion may have to do with the fact that Russian ruble devalued significantly. It is now worth about 1/2 of what it used to be in the past (graphs and exchange rates calculators are on internet in abundance, just search for currency exchange ruble to dollar ).  So people are a bit stressed, and there is some jerky reaction. But at the moment, not very much is actually going on. 

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