Sanctions? What sanctions? Russians aren’t feeling the sting. – The Christian Science Monitor

May 3, 2022 by No Comments

Two months into the “special military operation” against Ukraine, accompanied by the most comprehensive barrage of sanctions ever leveled against any country, Russian life, at least around Moscow, looks shockingly normal.

At the Europark mall, a giant hypermarket has bursting shelves and full stocks of almost everything. Only a few specific products, such as Kellogg’s brand muesli, are gone.

Why We Wrote This

Given the magnitude and scope of sanctions placed on Russia, Westerners may expect its public to be experiencing major shortages. But sanctions just aren’t hitting the average Russian.

If you happened to be in the city and wanted to sit in an upscale coffee shop, sip a latte, and use the Wi-Fi, you’d be spoiled for choice. Restaurants, beauty salons, grocery stores, car repair services, indeed, the full range of consumer services are still operating almost normally.

And outright piracy, a fixture of ’90s life in Russia, seems set to make a comeback. For example, several Moscow cinemas are currently screening “The Batman” and other first-run Hollywood films, even though their licenses to do so have been revoked.

“It will be more difficult and expensive, but nobody will have to go without their gadgets and other comforts,” says economist Andrei Movchan.

Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Western sanctions aiming to cause panic and shortages among Russians have failed abysmally. The scene at the suburban Europark shopping mall in Moscow seems to bear that out.

A few Western-owned stores, like The Body Shop and L’Occitane, have notices pasted on their doors that cite temporary closure, with no reason given. But many local franchises, selling luggage, curtains, appliances, perfumes, shoes, fashion clothing, and electronics, all seem to be working as usual.

Editor’s note: This article was edited in order to conform with Russian legislation criminalizing references to Russia’s current action in Ukraine as anything other than a “special military operation.”

Why We Wrote This

Given the magnitude and scope of sanctions placed on Russia, Westerners may expect its public to be experiencing major shortages. But sanctions just aren’t hitting the average Russian.

The giant French-owned Auchan hypermarket downstairs has bursting shelves and full stocks of almost everything from toilet paper, to fresh meats and vegetables, citrus fruits and bananas, to a wide range of domestic cheeses and dairy products. Only if you were looking for a few specific products, such as Kellogg’s brand muesli or Finnish cream cheese, might you notice they are gone.

Two months into the “special military operation” against Ukraine, accompanied by the most comprehensive barrage of sanctions ever leveled against any country, Russian life, at least around Moscow, looks shockingly normal. Opinion surveys show that huge majorities of Russians don’t expect the sanctions to have any impact on their lives, and almost 10% say they didn’t even know about the situation.

“For the most part we are still living in our previous reality,” says Ivan Timofeev, a sanctions expert with the Russian International Affairs Council, which is affiliated with the Foreign Ministry. “But at some point we will begin transitioning to a new reality, and then it will be very hard to ignore the deep changes we shall have to make.”

“Things actually seem better”

If you happened to be at loose ends in Moscow this week and wanted to sit …….

Source: https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2022/0502/Sanctions-What-sanctions-Russians-aren-t-feeling-the-sting

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