What Is the Truth on the Gas for Rubles Standoff?
An underwhelming compromise
It wasn’t a Russian bluff (so Russia remains a great power), but neither was it any kind of humiliation of the West.
It ended in a midway compromise.
The EU-ites will not be converting euros to rubles or handling rubles at all. But they will have ruble accounts.
They will continue to send their payments in euros. After which GazpromBank will convert their euros and credit them to their ruble accounts which Gazprom will debit.
So then GazpromBank will act as an intermediary black box. EU-ites will pretend that the payment has been made as soon as their euros are sent to GazpromBank, and the Russians will pretend the payment is only made once the euros leave GazpromBank as rubles.
It’s probably what Moscow was aiming for all along, but it is a little underwhelming.
No big victory was scored here by either side. Instead they agreed on a face-saving solution for both.