Sergei Kalashnikov, a former government minister, claims that the launch of Russia’s CBDC, the digital ruble, will promote de-dollarization. He believes that the CBDC will help combat black market dollar trading, a phenomenon that has been prevalent in Russia since Soviet times.

“In the currency exchange sphere, the digital ruble will dramatically reduce the possibility of official currency going to the black market. That will adjust the ruble’s value. And therefore, of course, the wider use of the digital ruble will affect the dollar’s growth against the ruble.”

The ruble’s value against the USD has fallen significantly in the past year. To reverse this trend, the Central Bank has launched a pilot project for its CBDC, involving 600 Russian citizens and 13 commercial banks.

Russia’s Digital Ruble: A De-dollarization Tool?

The Central Bank sees the potential for cross-border transactions with its digital ruble and lawmakers have suggested allowing foreign investors to purchase large quantities of tokens. Moscow aims to use the digital ruble to support de-dollarization efforts in international trade. The Russian government also intends to target the domestic black market, which has thrived under Western-led sanctions regimes.

While the Central Bank has no plans to eliminate cash or force citizens to use the CBDC, it has proposed “marking” tokens in certain situations to enhance transaction traceability. While it is unlikely to be implemented on all digital ruble tokens, this approach could jeopardize the ruble-USD black market. It may lead to an increase in the use of cryptocurrencies to send Russian money abroad.

Transparency International’s Russia branch has claimed that Russians are using the USDT stablecoin to send money to countries like the UK through illicit Moscow-based crypto exchanges and brokers.


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