Russia Prepares Measures to Shield Companies from Possible New Sanctions

Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has said he does not rule out that the newly-created Industrial Development Fund will develop new measures to support industrial enterprises amid an expected new wave of U.S. sanctions, state-run TASS news agency reported.

“Amid this background the Ministry of Industry and Trade considers it necessary to support companies through ensuring availability of ‘cheap’ credit facilities for their activities. For doing that, there is a mechanism of providing soft loans by the Industrial Development Fund with the rate of interest ranging from 1% to 5%,” the minister said.

“I do not rule out that we together with the Fund will develop additional support mechanisms as new sanctions are imposed,” he said when commenting on the potential expansion of U.S. sanctions.

The new wave of measures expected this month will affect Russia’s financial sector and will ban dollar transactions both with individuals and legal entities under sanctions, Manturov said.

“We have been implementing the import substitution program since 2015, while this year we have started implementing and developing new individual mechanisms of supporting big companies under sanctions,” he said, adding that “tit-for-tat sanctions against foreign countries are also being developed by (the Industry and Trade Ministry) together with other ministries, that are virtually actions against imposed sanctions,” the minister added.

A bipartisan proposal in Senate, dubbed the “bill from hell,” would also target Russia’s debt and state banks, while imposing new sanctions on oligarchs and political figures who aid corrupt activities on Putin’s behalf, and requiring the State Department to determine whether Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Key provisions of the proposal include restrictions on transactions with top state banks, including ban on correspondent accounts, asset bans on big energy like Gazprom and Rosneft, as well as military companies, along with a ban on transactions in new sovereign and state-company debt.