According to a report from RBK daily, Russian pensioners living abroad are facing difficulties in withdrawing their retirement payments as a result of Western sanctions on Russia’s banking system. Corresponding banks in other countries are withholding funds that are transferred from Russia and intended for the accounts of Russian retirees living abroad. This issue arises from last year’s Western restrictions on Russia, which cut off the country’s key banks from the global financial messaging system, SWIFT. Additionally, several of these banks are subject to blocking sanctions, which prohibit international financial institutions from cooperating with them.
The report highlights that Israel has the largest number of Russian pensioners, with around 52,500 living there. Soviet and Russian emigrants residing in Israel were given the choice to receive their pensions either in Russia or through cross-border transactions until the payment problem is resolved. Currently, 16,600 pensioners in Israel collect their retirement payments in Russia, 18,300 receive payments to personal accounts opened in Israel, and 17,600 are paid under a social security cooperation agreement between Russia and Israel, signed in 2017. This agreement enables Russian pensioners to receive pensions using transfers in US dollars.
RBK’s report emphasizes that despite Israel not joining Western sanctions against Russia, local banks in Israel still comply with the restrictions. As a result, Russian pension payments abroad are made in accordance with a government decree from 2022, stating that if pension transfers are impossible due to sanctions, payments should be suspended. To resume transactions, pensioners need to file an application to Russia’s Social Fund, indicating their new bank account.
The problem with transferring pensions abroad started in March 2022, according to the government note. In the second quarter of 2022, there were registered at least 37 cases of foreign banks blocking pension payments from Russia. This challenge severely impacts Russian pensioners who rely on these payments for their livelihood.
It is important to note that this issue is not limited to Israel but extends to other countries where Russian pensioners reside. The sanctions on Russia’s banking system have created significant obstacles in accessing retirement funds for these individuals. Efforts need to be made to address this issue and find alternative solutions to ensure that Russian pensioners living abroad can receive their retirement payments without any hindrances or delays.
In conclusion, Western sanctions on Russia’s banking system have resulted in Russian pensioners living abroad being unable to withdraw their retirement payments. Corresponding banks in other countries are withholding funds transferred from Russia that are intended for the accounts of Russian retirees. This problem affects pensioners in Israel and other countries, leading to financial difficulties for individuals relying on these payments. It is crucial to find solutions to this issue and provide Russian pensioners living abroad with the means to access their retirement funds.