The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is stepping up compliance efforts in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russia and Ukraine.

Gleb Kostarev, Binance’s head of operations for Russia and CIS, told Cointelegraph on Tuesday that the company plans to expand its operations in the region and improve local cryptocurrency compliance and education. Additionally, Binance expects to focus on the development and community of the Binance Smart Chain.

As part of the effort, Binance announced several local hires, including Olga Goncharova, Binance’s new director of government relations in Russia and the CIS.

Goncharova previously served at the Bank of Russia as director of the bank’s report processing department from 2014. She was responsible for processing financial statements from companies under the central bank’s supervision, also leading several Bank of Russia’s projects related to fintech and digital transformation.

“Binance places a great emphasis on regulation and compliance in jurisdictions of operation. Binance’s unique community, cutting-edge technology and innovative approach to work give Binance great opportunities for further development,” Goncharova said.

Vladimir Smerkis, co-founder of cryptocurrency platform Tokenbox, has also joined Binance as director of Binance Russia. Other new regional hires include former BNP Paribas executive Kirill Khomyakov, who will act as general manager of Binance Ukraine.

“With a proven track record, the new executives will certainly have a positive impact on Binance’s growing presence in Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe,” Kostarev said.


The latest news marks a significant strategic move by Binance as the region has been increasingly emerging as one of the world’s biggest crypto spots and mining centers.

Kazakhstan, a major CIS member state, is the second-biggest Bitcoin (BTC) mining country after the United States, responsible for 18% of the total Bitcoin hash rate as of October 2021. Trailing Kazakhstan, Russia produces 11% of the entire global BTC mining hash rate and is the third-largest visitor of Binance’s website, according to data from SimilarWeb.