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Bond of war: Russian geo-economics in Ukraine’s Sovereign Debt restructuring

Russia and Ukraine have spent the last four years locked in a conflict with many fronts, from the battlefields of Donbas to the servers of Ukrainian businesses. This paper will examine one under-studied front: the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over a contested $3 billion Eurobond sold by Ukraine’s government and purchased by Russia’s National Wealth Fund in December 2013. The paper first outlines the sale of the bond and then examines a number of specific contractual terms that have proven controversial. The paper next explains how the dispute led from the halls of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to a British courtroom. It then looks to identify Russia’s geo-economic strategy in the loan and subsequent legal dispute. Next, the paper positions this strategy within global developments in geo-economic policymaking, sovereign bond markets, and Russian foreign policy. Finally, it concludes by examining the dispute’s implications for Russian geo-economic policy and sovereign debt markets. […]