Russian Tourists in Indonesia Without Cash as Sanctions Bite


Russian citizens have been left scrambling to find cash or turning to crypto transactions to get by

 

When Russian tourist Konstantin Ivanov tried to withdraw money from his home bank account at a cash machine on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, the transaction was blocked.

Unprecedented sanctions against Russia’s banks over its invasion of Ukraine are taking a toll on its citizens overseas, who have been left scrambling to find cash or turn to crypto transactions to get by.

“This has created a huge problem for us. We have been left completely stripped of our finances – it’s like they have been completely frozen and we cannot use them at all over here,” said Ivanov, 27, adding that he might have to look for a job in Indonesia.

Bali is a popular holiday destination with Russian tourists, who flocked to the island by the tens of thousands before the pandemic and were among the first to return when borders partially reopened last year.

About 1,150 Russians entered Indonesia in January 2022, according to data from the statistics bureau.

Rifki Saldi Yanto, the manager of a local cafe, said he had noticed a decline in the number of Russian customers in recent days and many now pay with cash instead of credit card.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.