Russian consumers are feeling less pain than Americans, even amid a series of withdrawals from Western companies accompanied by sanctions, Newsweek reports.
Yakov Yakubovich, head of Moscow’s Tsverskoy municipal district, told Newsweek he had “not noticed any change in consumer behavior.”
“Apart from the obvious rise in price of many goods and services,” he adds, “there is no difference visible to the naked eye.”
Yakubovich says that despite inflation and Western sanctions, Moscow has largely been spared.
“We recently allocated an 8% increase in the budget for improving public services,” Yakubovich added.
“There is a feeling that nervousness has increased, that people don’t know what inflation might mean for their savings. But there are very few clear and visible signs that anything is different.”
“Alexander,” who asked Newsweek not to use his real name, said he was concerned about the quality of the products available.
Alexander, who works as a marine contractor specializing in shipping goods from China to Russia, says that “on February 23, the day before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, a US dollar cost 78, 6 rubles Over the next two weeks, the price of one dollar in Russian currency rose dramatically, peaking at 135.8 on March 10. Since then, however, the price of the US dollar has fallen below 60 rubles, a level not seen since March 2018.”
The report adds that the Russian Central Bank has so far managed to stave off what many in the West believed to be an impending financial collapse.
Nikolai Topornin, a professor of international finance at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, says that “the ruble is actually stronger than the government would like. For fiscal purposes, they would actually prefer to collect dollars from oil and gas sales and convert to rubles at a more favorable rate before paying pensions and other household expenses.”
Topornin adds that most of the economic pain is felt by members of the upper class.
“If someone really wants to buy a Mercedes, then it will be much more expensive than a few months ago, but when it comes to the milk, eggs, meat and cereals that the mass of ordinary people buy, the Inflation is much milder People are worse off, but they are not hungry.
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