| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Russian tourists in Indonesia without cash as sanctions bite

The transaction was blocked when Russian tourist Konstantin Ivanov attempted to withdraw money from his home bank account at a cash machine on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Unprecedented sanctions against Russia’s banks in response to its invasion of Ukraine are having an impact on its citizens living abroad, who are scrambling to find cash or turning to cryptocurrency transactions to get by.

“This has caused us a huge problem.” We’ve been completely robbed of our finances – it’s as if they’ve been frozen and we can’t use them at all over here,” said Ivanov, 27, adding that he may have to look for work in Indonesia.

The Russian embassy in the capital Jakarta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bali is a popular holiday destination with Russian tourists, who flocked to the island by the tens of thousands before the pandemic and were among the first to return when borders partially reopened last year.

About 1,150 Russians entered Indonesia in January 2022, according to data from the statistics bureau.

Rifki Saldi Yanto, the manager of a local cafe, said he had noticed a decline in Russian customers in recent days and many now pay with cash instead of credit card.

Meanwhile more than 7,000 Russians were stranded in Thailand, another popular beach destination because of flight cancellations, a rouble currency in free-fall and payment issues. L3N2VB1KZ

Russia’s economy is facing its gravest crisis since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, after western countries moved in recent days to isolate it from the global financial system. International payments system SWIFT has disconnected several Russian banks from its network, while Visa and Mastercard said they were blocking overseas use of their cards issued by Russian banks from March 9.

  • Reuters