Cover Osteuropa 10-12/2021

In Osteuropa, 10-12/2021

Nuclear Option or Empty Threat?
Russia’s Exclusion from SWIFT as a Sanction

Roland Götz

Deutsche Fassung


Under Belgian law, SWIFT is a cooperative company that enables more than 11,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries to exchange information on financial transactions in real time. Since the annexation of Crimea, voices in the United States and the EU have repeatedly called for Russia to be excluded from the SWIFT system. Russia would be badly hit by the use of this “financial weapon”, often classified as the “nuclear option”. The consequences would be a devaluation of the rouble, capital flight, and a collapse in foreign trade. But this would not persuade Moscow to change its course in domestic, foreign, and military policy. For this reason, and because of the negative external trade repercussions on its member states, the EU will hesitate to actually use this instrument for sanctions.

(Osteuropa, 10-12/2021, pp. 115–123)