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Russia Survey: 90% Don’t Want to Be Paid in Digital Rubles – CBDC Setback?

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
The Peter and Paul Church-Chapel in Lipetsk, Russia
Source: Sergey Lavrentev/Adobe

Most citizens in Western Russia say they do not want to get paid in digital rubles, dealing a further blow to the Central Bank’s CBDC plans.

Per the media outlet Lipetsk News, the recruitment agency HH conducted a digital ruble-themed survey of job seekers in the key Lipetsk Oblast in Western Russia.

But it appears citizens in the region remain lukewarm when it comes to CBDC adoption, with 90% stating they did not want to be paid in digital ruble tokens.

Ten percent of respondents said they would be happy to be paid the entirety of their salaries in digital rubles, while 11% said they would accept being paid “partly” in CBDC coins, providing that portion was less than half of their salary.

A map of Russia, with the Lipetsk Oblast shaded in red.
Lipetsk Oblast, in Western Russia. (Source: Stasyan117 [CC BY-SA 4.0])

The agency also found that some 51% of workers in the Lipetsk Obslast said they were “definitely not ready to switch to payments in digital rubles,” while 38% said they were “unsure” about the coin.

In early August, another survey revealed that the majority of Russians were “not interested” or even worried about the Central Bank’s coin.

A number of business leaders in Russia have also expressed mixed feelings about the digital ruble pilot.

The nation’s biggest banking association has also claimed that citizens are “extremely wary” of the digital ruble.

The group called on the Central Bank to introduce “a direct ban on forcing citizens to open a digital ruble wallet.”

The Russian Digital Ruble: Setbacks in Store?

However, the Central Bank may be cheered to learn that some sectors in Lipetsk appear ready to embrace the CBDC.

Among those expressing enthusiasm about the CBDC, around two-thirds (64%) of workers in the administrative field said they welcomed digital ruble pay.

And 60% of financial and accountancy professionals said they were looking forward to a day when salaries were paid in CBDC tokens.

And more than a quarter of all marketing professionals interviewed said they wanted to be paid fully in digital rubles.

Some Russian regional leaders have spoken about the coin in glowing terms, claiming soon-to-debut offline payment features will suit their residents.  

Most of those who expressed doubts about the coin in the Lipetsk survey said that they did not understand how the CBDC works or how they could pay with digital ruble coins.

Almost the same amount of people said they were afraid of CBDC-themed scams, which are already blighting citizens in multiple Russian regions.

A slightly smaller amount of respondents said they distrusted new forms of technology, while about 1 in 5 said they were worried about high fees.

A further 19% said they “generally prefer” cash to digital forms of money.

Victory Square in Lipetsk, Western Russia.
Victory Square in Lipetsk, Western Russia. (Source: Fedorus [CC BY-SA 4.0])

This week, the Central Bank has refuted rumors that it intends to force citizens to convert their fiat holdings to CBDC tokens, and denied that it wants to merge its digital ruble project with biometric ID projects.

And lawmakers are almost ready to sign off on a proposal that will seek to integrate the digital ruble with the nation’s Tax Code.

The Russian CBDC pilot was launched in mid-August in 11 cities nationwide.