Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Central Bank, leads the Russian economy

“She has a lot of faith in the government and the president,” said Sofya Donets, an economist at Renaissance Capital in Moscow who worked at the central bank from 2007 to 2019. In recent years, it was quite evident that all kinds of political issues in the sphere financial were delegated to the central bank, he added.

This confidence was built while Ms. Nabiullina was bolstering the Russian economy against Western sanctions, mostly due to the long-range American sanctions. In 2014, the United States cut many of the major Russian companies out of their capital markets. But these companies had large amounts of foreign currency debt, raising alarms about how they would pay off their debts.

Ms. Nabiullina decided to squeeze as many US dollars out of the economy as possible so that businesses and banks would be less vulnerable if Washington further restricted the country’s access to the use of dollars.

It also shifted the bank’s reserves, which rose to over $ 600 billion, into gold, the euro and the Chinese renminbi. During her tenure, the dollar share in reserves dropped to about 11 percent, from more than 40 percent, Ms. Nabiullina told Parliament last month. Even after sanctions froze the bank’s foreign reserves, the country has “sufficient” reserves of gold and renminbi, she told lawmakers.

Other protections against sanctions included an alternative to SWIFT, the global banking messaging system, developed in recent years. And the bank changed the payment infrastructure to process credit card transactions in the country, so the exit of Visa and Mastercard would also have little effect.

in March, Bloomberg News Other The Wall Street newspaper, citing unidentified sources, reported that Ms. Nabiullina had tried to resign after the invasion of Ukraine and had been rejected by Mr. Putin. The central bank rejected these reports.

Last month, the Canadian government put her under sanctions for being a “close collaborator of the Russian regime”.