The annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 marked a turning point in relations between Russia and the West. It was here that the Russian leadership decided that there could be no accommodation between Western institutional creep and its own core interests (interpreted broadly as an exclusive domain over its ‘near abroad’). Consequently, policy focus shifted toward blunting Washington’s punitive toolbox and minimizing Russian exposure to the oft-sanctioned US financial system.

Moscow took another step toward realizing its goal this week with the National Wealth Fund’s announcement that it will be divesting of all USD-denominated assets.