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The Real Russia. Today. Thursday, June 13, 2024

Source: Meduza

🏦 Russia’s largest stock exchange has stopped trading in U.S. dollars and euros. What does this mean for the ruble? (9-min read)

On June 12, the U.S. Treasury Department expanded sanctions against Russia, adding dozens of individuals and hundreds of legal entities to the SDN list. Among them were Russia’s largest stock exchange, the Moscow Exchange (MOEX), and its subsidiary, the National Clearing Center, which serves as an intermediary in currency transactions on the Russian foreign exchange market.

In a new report, Meduza responds to the following questions: Will it be possible to buy dollars and euros in Russia? How did trading happen before? How do the sanctions change this? Will the price of dollars and euros go up? Will Russia’s Central Bank still set the exchange rate? Will there be any dollars and euros entering Russia? Could this lead to a black market for currency? Will the yuan now become the main foreign currency in Russia?

💱 Suspended dollar and euro trading on Moscow Exchange produces relatively calm first day after expanded U.S. sanctions (4-min read)

On June 13, the Moscow Exchange suspended trading in the U.S. dollar, the euro, and the Hong Kong dollar after the U.S. Treasury Department levied sanctions on the exchange itself and its subsidiary, the National Clearing Center. On day one of this new reality, the Russian market remained remarkably calm in response to the new restrictions. Meduza summarizes the results of the Moscow Exchange’s first trading session under these conditions.

🫦 The state of Russia’s porn industry after more than two years of war

Writing for Vertska Media, journalist Aaron Lurie reports on changes in Russia’s porn industry since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The two biggest developments in the business have been (1) federal legislation in March 2022 that closed a loophole in the Criminal Code that allowed online pornography, and (2) Western sanctions and corporate withdrawals that cut off the access of models and studios to more affluent consumers abroad. Nevertheless, studios and models continue to work with talent in Russia, navigating visa restrictions by relocating their filming to Serbia from places like Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Spain. To circumvent Western sanctions on Russians’ access to international banking, models and performers also resort, for example, to falsely registered Uzbek bank accounts to route Western payments through banks in Belgium. 

The loss of OnlyFans access has significantly reduced the earning capacity of adult performers in Russia, though some models have circumvented the ban by obtaining Turkish and now Thai residency permits—a process that costs roughly $2,000 plus airfare. OnlyFans alternatives still officially available in Russia (like Fansly, Boosty, and Chaturbate) are all far less profitable for the models. Lurie also learned that it’s not uncommon for Russian performers to pose as Ukrainians. Even before February 2022, this offered better protection against deanonymization (and apparently better earnings). In the aftermath of the full-scale invasion, pretending to be Ukrainian was also a means of maintaining viewers’ loyalty and soliciting better pay. Lurie also writes about some models and studios that tailor their performances to military themes, either in support of Ukraine or as a clickbait gimmick. 

Stricter laws against pornography and new financial hurdles on international sales have smothered Russia’s porn consumer culture in the cradle. To be sure, pornography is just as popular as ever among Russian Internet users, but the culture of paying money for this content “has died completely.”

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  • ⚖️ Headed to Yekaterinburg for trial: American journalist Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested last year while on a reporting trip in Russia, has been formally charged with espionage
  • 🦊 Firefox drops compliance with Russia’s government censor: Mozilla announced on Thursday that it will reinstate the censorship-circumvention add-ons for Firefox that it previously disabled in Russia on orders from the federal censor. “Our initial decision to temporarily restrict these listings was made while we considered the regulatory environment in Russia and the potential risk to our community and staff,” a spokesperson told Kommersant newspaper.
  • 🍜 ‘Nudles’ from the ‘Almost Naked’ lady: Anastasia Ivleeva, the TV host and online influencer who caused a national scandal last December by hosting the “Almost Naked” party in Moscow, has apparently completed her mea culpa tour of public apologies, a repentant pilgrimage to occupied Donetsk, and support for Vladimir Putin. Now she’s opened a noodle restaurant in Moscow called “Nudles,” with the slogan “Suck it,” not shying away from her controversial history with nudity. The venue is a “multiformat” establishment, transforming from a noodle house by day to a noodle bar in the evenings, and then a karaoke nightclub and “afterparty” space in the later hours.
  • ☢️ Northern units unexpectedly join Russia’s tactical nuke drills: On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry revealed that units from the Leningrad Military District have joined the second stage of ongoing tactical nuclear weapons training exercises. Initial plans indicated that Russia’s Southern Military District would field the only units joining the controversial nuke drills. The northern district borders NATO-member countries Norway, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
  • 🇦🇲🇧🇾 Pashinyan vs. Lukashenko: On Thursday, Armenia and Belarus recalled their respective ambassadors for consultations, following Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s announcement that he won’t set foot in Belarus until President Alexander Lukashenko apologizes for commenting in May on Minsk’s support for Azerbaijan during the 2020 for control over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Pashinyan said in February 2024 that Armenia was “freezing” its participation in (and payment of dues to) the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization.

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