Russia Built Parallel Payments System That Escaped Western Sanctions

Western sanctions have disrupted nearly every part of Russia’s financial system, but there is one big exception.

The domestic-payments system continued to work smoothly after We saw Inc. spirit Mastercard Inc. pulled out earlier this month. While the card giants’ exit from Russia was viewed as a significant move by many in the West, the reality on the ground was anything but. Most Russian consumers never lost the ability to use their Mastercard- and Visa-branded cards to pay for things within the country.

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