The claim: Vladimir Putin nationalized Russia’s bank to end the Rothschilds’ control, banned GMOs and created a currency to compete with the dollar
Disinformation aimed at bolstering Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image amid the invasion of Ukraine has surged online in recent weeks. Some social media users are sharing a years-old claim that Putin built key Russian institutions.
“Vladimir Putin. He ended the Rothschild’s (sic) control over Russia by nationalizing the Russian centralized bank,” reads text in a Facebook post shared over four years ago. “He banned (genetically modified organisms) and created a currency to compete against the dollar.”
The post has generated more than 39,000 shares since it was published March 14, 2018, and it has recently regained traction on Facebook. Similar posts have racked up hundreds of interactions on Facebook.
But the claim is off the mark, as independent fact-checking organizations have reported.
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The Russian bank was nationalized long before Putin’s first term in office, the Rothschilds were never in control of Russia and Putin did not create a currency. But he did ban GMOs in the country.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Central bank created in 1800s
Russia’s first central bank – the main public credit institution in the country – was created a century before Putin was inaugurated as president in March 2000.
Former Russian Emperor Alexander II established the institution, originally called the “State Bank,” in 1860 for the purpose of “short-term commercial lending,” according to its official website.
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The move was also an attempt to reorganize the Russian National Commercial Bank. The bank was created in 1818 to “improve the country’s credit institutions” but did not have the “status of central bank,” according to the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library.
USA TODAY found no evidence the origins of the bank had anything to do with the Rothschilds, a wealthy Jewish banking family that has frequently been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Throughout the 1900s, the State Bank served many roles, including “covering military expenditures” during World War I and initiating foreign exchange, according to its website. It was renamed the “Bank of Russia” in 1992 after the Soviet Union disbanded.
Rothschilds never controlled Russia
USA TODAY found no evidence the Rothschild family ever controlled Russia.
None of the family members’ names appear on a list of Russian leaders dating back to 1267. Their names also don’t appear on a list of senior government officials who served in 2018, the year the Facebook post first circulated.
But Rothschild & Co., the family’s financial advising company, does have an office in Moscow, according to an archived version of the company’s website. It has been there for close to a decade.
Fact check: No evidence Putin banned Rothschild family from Russia
USA TODAY previously debunked a claim that Putin banned the Rothschild family from entering Russia.
Russian government banned GMOs under Putin
Former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich first announced the Russian government’s plan to ban GMOs at an international biotechnology conference in 2015, according to Reuters.
That plan came to fruition in 2016, when the State Duma passed a bill June 24 that established “a ban on the cultivation and breeding” of GMO plants and animals in Russia, except in cases of “examinations and research work.”
The bill also required “importers of GMO products” to fill out a mandatory public registration, according to TASS, a Russian state-owned news agency. The upper house of the Russian parliament approved the bill June 29, 2016, and Putin signed it into law July 4.
Ruble goes back centuries
There is no evidence Putin created a new form of currency in Russia, as the post claims.
The origins of the ruble, Russia’s official currency, “can be traced back to the 13th century,” according to Britannica. In 1704, Russian Czar Peter I initiated the “first regular minting of the ruble in silver,” the encyclopedia says.
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Putin first announced a plan to create a form of digital currency known as the crypto-ruble in 2017, according to Investing.com. The Financial Times reported in 2018 that Putin had “commissioned work” on the development of the crypto-ruble as Moscow sought to circumvent Western sanctions at the time.
But USA TODAY found no reports that the digital currency was in use by 2018, when the post was published.
Our rating: Partly false
Based on our research, we rate PARTLY FALSE the claim that Putin nationalized Russia’s bank to end the Rothschilds’ control, banned GMOs and created a currency to compete with the dollar. Putin did sign a law banning GMOs, but the rest of the post’s claims are wrong.
Russia’s central bank was established in 1860, more than a century before Putin started his first presidential term. The Rothschild family never controlled Russia. And Putin did not create a new form of currency.
Our fact-check sources:
- Lead Stories, April 18, Fact Check: Putin Did NOT End Rothschild Control Over Russia By Nationalizing Russian Central Bank — State Bank Was Created More Than A Century Ago
- Bank of Russia, accessed April 21, History of the Bank of Russia
- Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, accessed April 21, THE STATE BANK OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE ESTABLISHED
- Britannica, accessed April 21, Vladimir Putin
- Britannica, accessed April 21, Rothschild family
- FactCheck.org, March 8, Rothschild & Co. Has Office in Russia, Contrary to Conspiracy Claim on Social Media
- Britannica, accessed April 21, Leaders of Russia from 1276
- Rothschild & Co via WayBack Machine, accessed April 21, Our services in Russia and the CIS
- The Rothschild Archive, accessed April 21, A to Z listing of Rothschild family members
- USA TODAY, March 3, Fact check: No evidence Putin banned Rothschild family from Russia
- The Russian Government, accessed April 21, Senior Russian Government Officials
- The Russian Government via WayBack Machine, accessed April 21, Senior Russian Government Officials
- Library of Congress, July 1, 2016, Russia: Full Ban on Food with GMOs
- The Moscow Times, June 24, 2016, Russian State Duma Bans Import and Production of GMOs
- Reuters, Sept. 23, 2015, Govt decides to ban GMO food production in Russia: Deputy PM
- TASS, July 5, 2016, Russian president signs law banning GMO production
- Bitcoin.com, Jan. 2, 2018, Putin Wants to Use Cryptoruble to Evade Sanctions But Bank of Russia Skeptical
- Investing.com, Oct. 19, 2017, Russia is considering an official cryptocurrency called the ‘CryptoRuble’
- Investopedia, accessed April 21, Russian Ruble (RUB)
- Financial Times, Jan. 1, 2018, Putin considers ‘cryptorouble’ as Moscow seeks to evade sanctions
- National Geographic, accessed April 21, Genetically Modified Organisms
- Global Exchange, accessed April 21, Russian Ruble
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