Russia Bans Public Officials from Holding Crypto Effective April 2021

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In Brief
  • Public officials are now banned from owning or using cryptocurrencies in Russia.

  • Russian public officials will stop declaring crypto assets in April 2021.

  • Those who do not declare crypto holdings could face stiff penalties or jail time.

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Sequel to Vladimir Putin’s decree on December 10, 2020, asking government officials to declare their digital assets holdings, the Russian government has now gone ahead and banned public officials from holding any crypto.



According to the letter dated December 16, 2020, and released on Friday, 23 January 2020, Public officials in Russia are not only expected to get rid of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, but they are also vehemently prohibited from spending them effective from April 1, 2021.

According to the declaration, they are, “prohibited from owning and using any digital currency” and are expected to “alienate digital financial assets issued in information systems and digital currencies.”



First Declare, Then Ban

BeInCrypto reported the previous decree that required individuals in public offices, aspirants, spouses, and non-adult children to declare their crypto and digital assets between January 1 and June 30, 2020.

The new decree now requires these individuals to completely liquidate their cryptocurrency holdings and desist from using them altogether. In November, Russia reassured crypto holders it would protect their rights and regulate crypto in a “civilized approach.”

According to the prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin:

“[…] the government plans to direct the crypto market unto a civilized course so owners of such assets can protect their rights and interests while making shady projects more difficult to create.” 

Despite various issues with cryptocurrency in the past, the Russian government has continued to show some reception towards digital currencies. In October 2020, it revealed plans for its central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC), the digital ruble. 

However, Russia continues to strongly regulate the use of cryptocurrencies in the country. Individuals and corporations with more than 100,000 rubles (~$1,300) in crypto holdings should declare their assets or face a fine or 30% forfeiture. However, those with more than 1 million rubles (~$13,000) risk facing a jail term.

The recent outright prohibition for public servants is deemed a part of efforts to combat corruption in connection with Russia’s federal laws.

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