Russian President Vladimir Putin's reaction to recent attempts of the collective West to block Russia's gold reserves came as a surprise to the United States.
The United States and its allies have imposed several packages of sanctions the purpose of which was to strike a devastating blow to the Russian economy. However, Russia is coping well with the sanctions pressure. Having estimated the ineffectiveness of the sanctions, Washington decided to target Russia's gold reserves, Chinese publication NetEase believes.
Russia enters the top five of the countries that own world's largest gold reserves. It goes about enormous assets that can be used for mutual settlements with international partners and stabilization of the national currency.
In addition, Russia keeps its gold reserves inside the country. In other words, Russia did not follow the path of other states that moved their gold reserves to Western banks for storage, and now they experience problems with their return, the article says.
Venezuela is one of the most striking examples in this regard. Venezuela's gold reserves — about a billion dollars — are stored in Britain. However, the British authorities refuse to return it to Venezuela claiming that they do not recognize the legitimacy of the current Venezuelan authorities. In addition, British courts reject Venezuela's claims.
As for the Russian gold reserves, the United States imposed sanctions on Russian gold, which blocked Russian gold imports, the Chinese publication said.
However, the Americans thought it wrong if they expected that those restrictive measures would cause panic in Moscow. The reaction from the Russian president to what happened came as a complete surprise to Washington.
Instead of the expected panic, the Russian authorities showed a very calm reaction to those sanctions.
Putin quoted US writer Mark Twain "The reports about my death are greatly exaggerated" when commenting on Washington's move.
As the Chinese publication said, Putin thus made it clear to Washington that the West failed to carry out the sanctions blitzkrieg against Russia. Some time later, Putin signed a decree on countermeasures that banned transactions with shares of Russian strategic companies from unfriendly countries.
Putin is no longer polite with his Western partners. He has shown toughness, NetEase wrote.
In late July, the UK banned the purchase of Russian gold. The European Union approved the seventh package of anti-Russian sanctions, which banned activities to purchase, import or transfer gold (including jewelry items) from Russia.