Russia banking: The Yugra illusions
On a recent visit to the Russian central bank on a wintry day, Euromoney’s eye was caught by a chap holding a large and surprisingly professionally produced billboard.
Bearing the logo of recently defunct Yugra Bank, it read: “CB RF [Central Bank of the Russian Federation] – give the money back! MVD [Ministry of the Interior] – put the thieves from CB in prison!”
This one-man protest was the latest in a series of attacks on the central bank following its forced closure of Yugra last July.
Over the summer, a deluge of stories – at one point, more than 1,000 a day – appeared in the more flexible parts of the Russian media. They accused the central bank of defrauding Yugra depositors.
Several D-list celebrities went on TV to say they had lost money as a result of the bank closure. A group claiming to be Yugra depositors staged a sit-in at the central bank.
All may not, however, be quite what it seems.