When I opened Twitter shortly after waking up, “Russian bread” was trending. Discussions about political correctness and the question of whether one should still be allowed to leave the popular pastries with Sunday coffee on the cash register, because: It’s war.
That may sound strange to some now, but I don’t have to laugh about it at all. While one page of my Twitter feed is lit up in blue and yellow in solidarity, others are laying out symbolic politics at its finest that ultimately doesn’t help anyone, only harm.
Russia is divided. And not only with the rest of the world, but also within Russia itself. Arrests during Russian protests against Putin’s war of aggression are met with increasing reports of Russian soldiers staggering around Ukraine almost as if lost. In any case, a common, clear edge of Russia in relation to the war against Ukraine looks different. Putin has failed to unite his people behind him and his war of aggression.
At the same time, I can hear the wailing sirens of the air raid alarm in Kyiv ringing in my ears. A video lodged itself in my head. A world journalist is reporting on the ground in the Ukrainian capital, while a loud, menacing alarm keeps sounding in the background.
Crypto Sanctions: Putin’s Quicksand
The West is sending arms, aid money and words of encouragement to Ukraine, while Russia is the recipient of sanctions and mankind’s anger. And rightly so. Of course, people are currently looking for options to end this war against Ukraine as quickly as possible and to prevent further escalation. They want to stand aside and show solidarity with Ukraine as much as possible.
The Western snake bite that paralyzed the Kremlin is very deep. In addition to being excluded from the SWIFT network, credit card giants Visa and Mastercard also said goodbye to Russia. Google Pay and Apple Pay also suspended their activities for Russian transactions.
Ukraine’s Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov goes with one Financial support however, one step further. In addition to classic financial instruments, Russia’s crypto accounts on exchanges such as binance and Kraken be blocked. While this could be further leverage to isolate the Kremlin, the common assumption that crypto is used to evade classic sanctions may have weighed heavily – the BTC price has not skyrocketed for no reason.
Crypto exchanges active in Russia responded to the appeal in broadly similar ways. binance and Co. say yes to the blocking of addresses associated with sanctions. But they deny the mass blockade of the Russian public. And that’s a good thing, because placing the entire population under general suspicion would only play into Putin’s hands.
With the ruble plummeting, cryptocurrencies like BTC represent the last resort for many Russians to preserve the value of their savings. A complete exclusion of Russian accounts from the crypto market could therefore play into Putin’s hands, because the independence of Russian citizens who want to break away from Putin’s dictatorship have been lost in the quicksand of the Kremlin. Dependence on the destructive policies of a megalomaniac president continued to grow.
A tightrope act
Ultimately, a certain balance is required here. Yes, the easiest way would probably be to just freeze all Russian addresses on crypto exchanges. However, this shows black and white thinking in a very complex situation.
A holistic approach to containing Putin is needed. The crypto sector should not have a special status here. However, in combination with the blocking of classic financial instruments, crypto sanctions would mean the ruin of innocent Russians. It takes more effort than pushing the most obvious button left: bankrupting the Russian people outright.
BTC is not a flag in the wind, but a humanitarian constant, a neutral technology with no political agenda. The digital currency promises financial self-determination for the population of the entire globe, regardless of man-made borders – for the innocent citizens of Ukraine and Russia.