Montana has given up nearly all of its Russia-related assets | 406 Politics

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Almost all of Montana’s $14 million in Russian-linked assets have been sold since the country invaded Ukraine earlier this year, the executive director of the State Board of Investments said Thursday.

Council executive director Dan Villa told the Interim Committee on State Administration and Veterans Affairs that about $35,000 of that total remains since the council began its divestment efforts in March.

It has been nearly six months since Russia launched its last invasion of Ukraine, a move widely condemned by the United States and other Western countries. Subsequent sanctions weighed on the Russian economy, as well as the withdrawal of many Western-based companies.

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A rise in anti-Russian sentiment in the United States has also prompted consumer boycotts and bipartisan calls by politicians to punish Russia economically. Governor Greg Gianforte wrote on Twitter shortly after the invasion that Montana was reviewing its approximately $25 billion investment portfolio for assets “that could benefit Vladimir Putin, his group of profiteering oligarchs and his money-making machine.” vicious war”.

But Villa said the board’s divestment strategy was rooted in financial prudence.

“We started to exit Russian holdings when we could, not for what I would call governance or political reasons, but because Russia cannot invest as a country at this stage,” he said. he declared.

The remaining assets are mostly in rubles – Russia’s official currency – which Villa says have been difficult to sell due to capital controls the country’s central bank put in place in response to sanctions threats earlier this year.

Villa also reported that three of the state’s four largest investment pools — the Consolidated Asset Pension Pool, the Trust Funds Investment Pool and the Montana State Fund — posted losses of 2.8% to 5.9%. during the year ended June 30. But he noted those declines were small compared to the double-digit losses of all major U.S. stock markets over the same period.

“It really shows why diversification is needed within a pool of this size,” he said, adding that the state’s real estate portfolio saw gains of almost 24%.

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