MOSCOW, 2 April (RIA Novosti) – The speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, addressed the country’s banking community Wednesday, highlighting the need to take measures to enhance the sustainability of the Russian financial system.

“Given the current circumstances we have to actively take the necessary measures to increase the sustainability of the country’s financial system. This is not only a question of economic security, but an issue of Russia’s sovereignty at large,” said Valentina Matviyenko at the meeting of the Russian Association of Bankers.

She also stressed that the financial and banking system are the brightest examples of the world’s current interdependence.

“Some ‘hot headed’ decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 – which is still taking its toll on the world – started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” said the senator.

The speaker underscored the importance of the decision taken by Rossiya Bank to operate on the domestic market only, with payments in rubles, which could give the credit institution an edge on the banking market in both attracting companies and consumers.

As a reaction to the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation in mid-March, the US introduced sanctions against 20 Russian officials and Rossiya Bank. The list included the majority owner of the bank, Yuri Kovalchuk, and the owners of SMP Bank, Boris and Arkady Rotenberg. Following this action, the international payment system operators Visa and MasterCard stopped client operations for Rossiya Bank, SMP Bank, as well as their subsidiaries Sobinbank and Investkapitalbank with no prior notice. Later the limitations applied to Rossiya Bank only.

The senator re-iterated the need to establish a national rating agency, which “would be more objective and independent from political conditions.” Matviyenko announced that the State Duma has received a bill on the creation of a national payment system, and the Federation Council will hold a parliamentary hearing on the matter joined by officials from the central bank.

Matviyenko further proposed a legislative right for Russian citizens to choose which bank to use for salary and pension payments. “This shouldn’t turn into slavery,” the representative said, stating that in the context of global discussions the needs of an average citizen should not be overlooked.