Russian magnate says asking for rubles for exports would backfire

© . FILE PHOTO: Chairman of the Board of Directors of NLMK company Vladimir Lisin attends a session during Russian Business Week, hosted by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 9, 2018. REUTERS/ Ser () – Steel baron Vladimir Lisin, listed by Forbes magazine as Russia’s third-richest man, told Kommersant newspaper on Tuesday that Moscow’s plans to charge rubles for its exports are hurting the country’s position in would undermine global markets. He also criticized the proposed delisting of the certificates of Russian foreign exchange companies, as it would increase risks and undermine shareholder rights. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered that , which is mainly exported to Europe, should be paid in rubles rather than foreign currency, following sweeping Western sanctions against Ukraine. European capitals have rejected the demand, which Germany says amounted to “blackmail”. Some politicians, including lower house speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, suggested that Russia should sell oil, grain, metals, fertilizer, coal and wood for rubles in world markets where it is profitable. “For decades, we’ve been fighting for export markets… We’ve built relationships with thousands of customers in 70 countries. It’s hard to imagine what could convince our buyers to switch to ruble settlements and take currency risks,” says Lisin . told the newspaper. “Logistics problems have already complicated the delivery of goods. Switching to payments in rubles will only make us disappear from international markets.” Last month, Lisin told employees of steelmaker NLMK, of which he is chairman and majority shareholder, that the loss of life in Ukraine was a tragedy hard to justify, and called for a peaceful diplomatic solution to the conflict. Lisin said in a letter to staff posted on social networks by an employee that the company and its board hoped the conflict would be resolved quickly.

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