In 2017, Putin stated that the one who became the leader in AI would be the ruler of the world, adding that it would be undesirable if someone obtained a monopolist position and that Russia would share its discoveries with the rest of the world. It was likely his way of affirming dominance while letting the world know that Russia is ready to expand its intellectual boundaries. Putin even tried monopolizing the crypto market: when the central bank called for a ban on cryptocurrencies, Putin was against this decision. During a call on January 26, a month before invading Ukraine, Putin stated the potential and advantages Russia has in this field. This could have been a first red flag: If Kremlin was already planning an all-out war, they were likely expecting sanctions, hence, giving alternate ways of securing wealth a thought.