Russian Lawmakers Propose Changes to Digital Ruble Bill

During the ongoing Russian parliamentary hearings on the digital ruble project, lawmakers have put forward significant amendments to the bill. These proposed changes aim to modify the original document concerning debt operations, services for non-residents, and the role of the central bank.

According to a report from the state-owned news agency Interfax on May 22, the Committee on the Financial Market of the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, has prepared a package of suggestions for the second reading of the digital ruble bill.

Among the proposed amendments, lawmakers suggest prohibiting the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, from participating in the financing of companies. Instead, the central bank would focus solely on operating the digital ruble platform. Additionally, the amendments would require the central bank to safeguard the private data of customers who are employees of the Federal Security Service.

The new draft also aims to facilitate non-residents’ access to the central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform by allowing foreign banks to join the platform with approval. Furthermore, it specifies that non-residents should face no limitations when using the platform.

Current Russian Bill  Gives Financial Freewill to Enforcement Agencies

The current version of the bill permits enforcement agencies to withdraw the debtors’ funds, without any limitations, if they possess a sufficient amount of digital rubles. However, the State Duma’s legal department has already voiced its opposition to this provision, citing that national law prohibits withdrawing debtor funds beyond the minimum wage threshold, which is approximately $195 per month.

Bill number 270838-8 successfully passed its first reading in March with the initial goal of becoming law by April to initiate a pilot program for a central bank digital currency (CBDC). However, the deadline has been postponed due to ongoing discussions surrounding the bill. According to Interfax, the bill is expected to proceed to subsequent readings by the end of July.

In the meantime, Belarus, a neighboring country, has developed a pilot program for its own CBDC. The national bank’s chairman has stated that a decision regarding the issuance of a digital Belarussian ruble will be made by the year’s end.