November 15, 2013 – MOSCOW – To protect Russians against the “collapsing US debt pyramid”, a Russian legislator has filed a draft bill to ban circulation of the currency in Russia. Once a Moscow mayoral hopeful, Mikhail Degtyarev, 32, likens the US dollar to a worldwide ponzi scheme which he says is scheduled to end in 2017. “If US national debt continues to grow at its current rate, the dollar system will collapse in 2017,” the submitted draft legislation says. “In light of this, the fact that confidence in the US dollar is growing among Russian citizens is extremely dangerous,” Degtyarev wrote in his explanatory note attached to the bill. The bill would impose a ban on dollars within a year of its passage, and any private citizen holding accounts in dollars would either need to spend the money or convert it to another currency. There is no proposed ban on the euro, British pound, yen, or yuan. If one doesn’t exchange or transfer dollars within a year, the dollars will be seized by officials, and reimbursed in rubles within 30 calendar days. Under the proposed legislation, Russians would still be able to use dollars abroad and have foreign bank accounts, as well as buy goods on the Internet in dollars. The Russian government, Central Bank, Foreign Ministry, Federal Treasury, Federal Security Service, and other state branches would be exempt from the law.
To protect Russian nationals, Degtyarev proposes to end dollar transactions and deposits at Russian banks, which would give rise to the ruble, and end dependence on the world’s dominant currency. Part of the bill aims to restore the prestige of the ruble, which has weakened as the Russian economy battles inflation and slow growth. Raising the prestige of the ruble by nixing foreign currency isn’t a novel idea- it was practiced during the Soviet Union when holding foreign currencies was illegal. A similar ‘anti-dollar’ proposal was filed by Duma deputies in 2003, but completely flopped. Moscow, a developing financial center, is home to several international corporations, and many companies pay their employees in dollars, or ruble salaries pegged to the dollar. If the bill garners enough support, it will continue onto as many as three preliminary hearings before being passed into law. Degtyarev has made a name for himself with his outlandish proposals- from giving women extra holidays during menstruation, to his declaration Russia would lead the fight in defeating the antichrist. He serves as the head of the science and technology committee in the lower house of the Duma. The populist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) is a political platform for Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is famous for political antics and outlandish bills. On the same day, November 13, Belarus issued a statement denying rumors they were mulling a similar currency ban, after an opposition group reported a currency circulation ban that would get rid of dollars and euros in two months. Citing Alexander Timoshenko, a representative of the Belarus’s National Bank, Interfax reported the rumors were “absolute nonsense” for a country with an open economy. –RT News