Friday (January 28th): Swiftly Moving Against Russia

Javier Perez-Tasso - SWIFT
Javier Perez-Tasso

Name? Javier Perez-Tasso

Westphalian identity? Spanish

Age? 50s

Why is he in the news? Javier Perez-Tasso is not in the news but might be very soon. He is CEO of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a cooperative society that only very few people know of but more and more of us might hear from in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict

Why do we care? Because SWIFT serves as the executor of financial transactions between banks worldwide and Western lawmakers are considering excluding Russia from it if Putin moves on Ukraine. In simpler terms, Perez-Tasso oversees a system that could cut Russia off from the global banking system. Because of its detrimental impact, it is also referred to as the “nuclear option”. However, Perez-Tasso is not the one to make the call in the end. SWIFT is under EU law, meaning it is up to European leaders. 

Why should you care? Excluding a country from SWIFT has only been done once, 2012 in Iran. And it lost the country 30% of its foreign trade. Similarly, estimates say that it could decrease Russia’s GDP by 5% and throw the global economy into even deeper trouble than it is at the moment. You should care 10/10 given that the global economy impacts the delivery of your Amazon packages. 

Who else cares? Nikolai Zhuravlev, vice speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament stated in response to this option “then we will not receive (foreign) currency, but buyers, European countries in the first place, will not receive our goods – oil and gas”. 

Any further comments? Until Western allies decide to drop this nuclear bomb, SWIFT, on Russia, there are plenty of other steps against Russia or in support of Ukraine Western nations employ. For example Germany, which has refused to provide offensive weapons to Ukraine, offered to send 5,000 helmets instead, an offer that the mayor of Kyiv called “a bad joke”

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator