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Russia defaults on foreign debt for first time since 1918

According to reports, Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time in more than a century after missing a deadline.

Russia has the money and is willing to pay a $100 million payment, but sanctions have made it impossible to get the money to international creditors, according to the BBC.

The Kremlin was determined to avoid the default, which would be a major blow to the country’s reputation.

On May 27, the $100 million interest payment was due. According to Russia, the funds were transferred to Euroclear, a bank that would then distribute the funds to investors.

However, according to Bloomberg News, that payment is still stuck there, and creditors have not received it.

According to the BBC, the money did not arrive within 30 days of the due date, which was Sunday evening, and thus is considered a default.

Euroclear declined to comment on whether the payment had been blocked, but stated that it abides by all sanctions.

The last time Russia defaulted on its foreign debt was during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, when the new communist leader Vladimir Lenin refused to pay the Russian Empire’s debts.

Russia’s last debt default occurred in 1998, when the country was rocked by the rouble crisis at the end of Boris Yeltsin’s regime.

Moscow failed to make domestic bond payments at the time but avoided default on its foreign debt, according to the BBC.

Since the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has appeared to be on the verge of default.


About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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