Dependent on almost $40 million a month from their patrons in Moscow just to pay pensions and on a circuitous transfer system via another Russian construct in northern Georgia, the Donetsk officials say they’re making progress, Bloomberg reports.
Two people in the rebel administration told Bloomberg Russia transfers 2.5 billion rubles ($37 million) for pensions every month. They declined to be identified, citing security concerns.
"Coal and metals exports were the main earners before the violence flared last year. Now the region is mostly reliant on Russian financial aid and taxes the government tries to gather from local businessmen by requiring them to open accounts at the central bank to pay suppliers," reads the article.
"Russian goods are imported by local entrepreneurs who now have 14,000 accounts in total at the central bank," said Irina Nikitina, chairwoman of a co-called Central Bank of the DPR. "They allow an importer to pay Russian suppliers through a Russia-based credit union or through a bank in South Ossetia, a pro-Russian region that broke away from Georgia after a conflict in 2008."
Rubles make up 90% of local currency stock, according to the central bank. Its network of nine ATMs now only service ministerial workers, according to Nikitina.
The ATMs display a military monument, a Soviet-style tribute to the fighting in Donetsk. The machines accept only local cards and the only operation is withdrawal. Some 300,000 cards are ready for issue, Nikitina said.