A customer walks past an Apple store in a shopping center in Moscow on March 7, 2022 ( AFP / – )
Amazed. Realizing the magnitude of the international response to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, many Muscovites discovered the closed doors of the large stores where, like all Europeans, they used to dress and furnish.
Zara, H&M, Ikea… All of them stopped selling in the Russian market overnight and lowered the iron curtains in the multitude of shopping centers in the Russian capital.
While Muscovites have experienced many periods of crisis, shortage or hyperinflation over 40 years, the last two decades under Vladimir Putin have represented for many an era of certain prosperity and access to consumption.
The Russian power may reiterate that Russia will quickly recover from international sanctions imposed since February 24 and the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine, many expect a dark morning.
Anastassia Naoumenko, a 19-year-old journalism student, worked in an Oysho clothing store. She lost her job, the Spanish giant Inditex had closed the shop.
On this holiday Monday, she wants to buy makeup for as long as she can afford it, as the ruble plummets under the onslaught of Western economic and financial sanctions.
The Evroreisky (“European”) shopping center in Moscow on March 7, 2022 ( AFP / – )
“I heard that the prices had already quadrupled,” said the young girl, as she crossed the street at the entrance to the Moscow Metropolis shopping center.
Before intervening: “it’s going to be terrible”.
Because with the entry into force last weekend of a ban on all information that denigrates the Russian armed forces, she also believes she has to give up her dream of journalism.
“Who needs my profession with this censorship,” continues the young girl, “how to live in a world limited to Russia…”.
– Life Collapse –
Ioulia Chimelevitch, 55, makes a living from the private French lessons she gives. Met in front of a pet food store, she came to buy western food for dogs and cats while some are left.
She says that in ten days most of her students have canceled their classes, and many have chosen to leave Russia because of the repression and difficulties ahead. His son joined these exiles on Sunday.
Moscow Domodedovo Airport on March 5, 2022 ( AFP / – )
“My life has collapsed,” she says, “all the luxuries that we had become accustomed to in recent years, imported products, clothing, are already a thing of the past.”
“But the hardest part will not be tightening your belt, but the separation from my son and a feeling of guilt towards the rest of the world,” concludes Yulia.
Piotr Loznitsa, the 47-year-old interior designer, also saw his order book empty within a few days. But what worries her most is the future of her children and the availability of imported medicines for her aging parents.
– Nothing foreign –
“If it doesn’t get better in the year, I’m going to get my kids out of here at all costs,” he said. For the rest, he thinks the Russians can show resilience.
“They have also adapted in Iran,” said Mr. Loznitsa.
Ksenia Filippova, a 19-year-old college student, comes out of a fine lingerie store, a small pink purse in her hand, accompanied by a friend who is holding a dog on a leash.
A little embarrassed, the young girl explains that she “came to buy (her) favorite brands for the last time because everything is closing”. And then “the rise in prices, it hits the wallet”.
But she also tries to see things on the bright side. “Russian brands can replace them, maybe the sanctions are good for the Russian market.”
Vladimir Putin has been saying for years that economic retaliation should be an opportunity for Russia to produce its own goods. If progress has been made in agri-food or textile, for technologies, progress so far has been minimal.
Tamara Sotnikova, 70, insists she doesn’t care about sanctions on the Kouznetski Most Commercial artery where shops are now closed.
“Everything must be ours, true and of course!” the pensioner ignites. “What did we have in the Soviet era? Nothing! And we lived normally, quietly.”