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Russians Withdrew Over $1 Bln From Banks During Wagner Mutiny

A Russian seen withdrawing money from an ATM. Mikhail Tereshchenko / TASS

Russians withdrew 100 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) from banks during the panic that ensued as Wagner mercenaries marched on Moscow last month, Russia’s Central Bank said Tuesday.

“The need for cash increased in June and led to a 500 billion ruble liquidity outflow,” the bank said in a monthly monetary policy report.

One-fifth of the amount was taken out on June 23-25, when Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin launched — and promptly negotiated an end to — his short-lived mutiny. 

It was the highest surge in demand for cash since Russia announced a military mobilization in the fall of 2022, which also stirred panic and sparked a wave of emigration from the country, according to the RBC news website.

Russia’s Central Bank said the net withdrawals have not disrupted its monetary policy and would be taken into account in determining future operations with banks.

Wagner’s aborted revolt has also pushed the Russian ruble to 15-month lows amid falling export revenues.

Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said last week that the ruble’s continued depreciation risked increasing inflation and forcing the bank to adjust its key rate, which has held steady at 7.5% for almost a year.

The crisis sparked by Prigozhin’s months-long feud with Russia’s military leadership also led to flights out of Moscow selling out as Wagner troops marched toward the Russian capital.

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