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After the onset of Western sanctions in 2014, the Russian National Card Payment System (NSPK) and its corresponding Mir bank cards launched the following year. Five years later, estimates show that 56 million people are using Mir cards, more than 20 percent of Russia’s bank card market and will be operational in twelve foreign countries. Traditionally, scholars have examined Russian soft power as aiming to integrate post-Soviet countries with Russia and Central Asian countries through promoting beneficial economic and cultural relationships. With the Mir card system, Russia is seeking primarily to become less dependent on a dollar-dominated financial system, as well as to avoid potentially increasing US sanctions and to overarchingly seek to build a multipolar system. This research will investigate the Mir card system.
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