A mockup of a Mir payment card design. © Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
A mockup of a Mir payment card design. © Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

The establishment of the Russian rating agency and the national payment system Mir is designed to win investors’ trust and Russian citizens’ confidence in the country’s financial stability, Director of the Department for Strategic Analysis and Developments at Vnesheconombank Vladimir Andrianov told TASS on Tuesday.

Russian Central Bank Chief Elvira Nabiulllna told President Vladimir Putin on Monday that the national payment cards Mir would appear in Russia already by the New Year and would operate both inside the country and abroad. Besides, Russia will establish the national rating agency by the end of 2015, the Central Bank governor said.

According to Andrianov, the work of the world’s major rating agencies is politicized enough.

“Overall, there are a total of 179 international rating agencies in the world. The world’s three leading agencies — Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, the so-called Big Three — service 96% of the market of rating services and are the institutes of US financial policy. Financiers believe these agencies are controlled by Rothschild Group,” Andrianov told TASS.

“During the global financial and economic crisis, these agencies tarnished their reputation and even the US Department of Justice opened a criminal probe against Standard & Poor’s into the overstated quality of mortgage securities it rated, which was one of the causes for the crisis. The Europeans also express doubts over the objectivity of these agencies,” the expert said.

“Early this year, Moody’s downgraded Russia’s sovereign rating to the speculative grade, which was a 100% politicized action because the solvency of Russia with its considerable gold and foreign currency reserves causes no doubts. Russia’s budget deficit equals just 2-3% (of GDP), its trade balance has a surplus and there are no threats to the country’s financial state,” he added.

According to the expert, the activity of the world’s major rating agencies aims to exert pressure on Russia to weaken its economy and financial system.

“In these conditions, the establishment of Russia’s national rating agency is vital. This idea has long been discussed in professional circles and we put it forward back 10 years ago. The law ‘On Rating Agencies’ has already been adopted by the State Duma and founders have been proposed from among specialists of big banks. Of course, a conflict of interests is possible in this regard – to be a banker and set ratings for yourself. Indeed, the process of creating the national rating agency is complex but it has to be launched,” Andrianov said.

“The Russian rating agency will bring together both domestic specialists and renowned foreign experts, which should help it gain international prestige,” the expert said.

“As for the national payment system Mir, a precedent with the Chinese analog of international payment systems already exists. Back in 2002, China took efforts inside the country to create a powerful payment system, China UnionPay, which also operates abroad. It is unrealistic to be fully independent from MasterCard or American Express but the threats of Russia’s disconnection from the SWIFT international banking message system and the western sanctions against Russian banks make urgent the task of creating the national payment system,” the expert said.