Москвичи об экономическом кризисе / Muscovians on the Economic Crisis

Audio content: People in Moscow describing how how the economic crisis has affected them
Visual content: Various Russian citizens on the streets of Moscow

Through most of the 2000s the dollar-to-ruble exchange rate hovered around 30 rubles per dollar. Today the rate is 65 rubles to the dollar — which at least is an improvement on the high of 82 rubles attained in January 2016. The drastic devaluation of the ruble is one of the most visible aspects of Russia’s current “economic crisis,” the result of a combination of factors including the sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea and the worldwide drop in the price of oil. Of course, some are affected by the crisis more than others — see my earlier post on those who made the unfortunate decision to acquire mortgages denominated in dollars. Overall, life goes on. Goods imported from abroad, including raw materials and supplies that Russian businesses need, are now much more expensive, which hurts employment. In response, the government has been encouraging local industry to develop domestically produced replacements for foreign products – a phenomenon referred to with the neologism “импортозамещение” (“import replacement”). The ever-adaptable Телеканал Дождь (TV Rain) launched a new travel series called Ездим дома (“let’s travel at home”), encouraging its listeners to make the best of the fact that trips abroad are now much more expensive than they used to be. At least Russia itself offers an incredible expanse for exploration! The government seems to have avoided drastic cuts to the budget so far. In fact, from the domestic perspective, the devaluation of the ruble partially balances out the drop in oil prices, since the price of a barrel of oil is denominated in dollars, which can now be exchanged for many more rubles than previously. You’ll see many of these themes reflected in the video above, in which people respond to a question about how the crisis has hurt them. Some are quite concerned while others view the situation in a light-hearted way. Certainly, Russia’s tumultuous recent history has given citizens plenty of practice at adapting to the latest turns of fate.

The key part of the video is embedded above. The entire program is here (access for Дождь subscribers only).


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The video, of course, has subtitles, but the transcript below includes more of the conversational particles that the speakers use.

Вопрос: Что для вас самое болезненное в текущем кризисе?

Девушка: Кошелёк чувствует.

Мужчина в черной шапке: В стране он [то есть – кризис] действительно есть, в самом деле. Идёт падение доходов, ну, реальное падение доходов.

Женщина с рыжими волосами: Всё подорожало в магазинах, вообще. Пойдёшь, на эту тысячу раньше что-то можно было принести, а сейчас – ничего.

Молодой человек: По барам ходить болезненно. Да, ну, действительно ощутился.

Другой молодой человек: Сигарет с утра нету, тоже болезненно.

Мужчина в очках: Можно было куда-то чаще сходить, наверно. Сейчас – меньше.

Девушка: У меня просто личные обстоятельства, как бы, изменились. Поэтому я сейчас не очень чувствую экономический кризис. Вот, но а так, если бы… но работу найти сложнее, да.

Женщина: Болезненна работа, найти работу. Четыре месяца уже не могу найти работу.

Мужчина с бородой: Я просто вот оставил жену без подарка на восьмое Марта. Подарил ей цветы, вот, выращенные на Белой даче.

Женщина в очках: Больнее всего, наверное, учёба платная. И лечение, конечно, обследования, сейчас.

Женщина-блондинка: Ну пока мы не можем отдухнуть съездить.

Девушка с розовыми волосами: Я, допустим, ездила в Лондон или куда-то на море. А сейчас, я вот прошлое лето провела в Москве.

Мужчина в черной шапке: Больше ездим по России теперь.

Девушка в желтом пальто: Пожалуй, я особо ни от чего не отказывалась.

Другая девушка: На самом деле, да. Как-то так просто аккуратнее. Меньше откладывается.

Первая девушка: Ну да.

Мужчина в очках: Главное, как говорят наши родители, и деды говорили: “Лишь бы не было войны.”

Женщина-блондинка: Сокращают везде. Везде сокращают, и в деньгах сокращают, везде. А вы знаете, какие цены. Я вообще не представляю, куда мы идем. А потом говорят, что войны не будет. Еще как будет!


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Question: What is the most painful thing for you in the ongoing [lit.: flowing] crisis?

Young woman: The wallet [lit.: coin pouch] feels it!

Man in black hat: In the country it [i.e. the crisis] is definitely there, in point of fact. There’s a fall in income, well, a fall in real income.

Woman with red hair: Everything got more expensive in the stores, overall. You go, and formerly for that 1000 you could bring something [home], but now – nothing.

Young man: It’s painful [financially] to go out to bars. Yes, well, it really has been felt.

Other young man: In the morning there’s no cigarettes, that’s also painful.

Man in glasses: It used to be possible to go somewhere more often, probably. Now – less.

Young woman: It’s just that my personal circumstances changed. So now I’m not feeling the economic crisis very much. So… but otherwise, if… But finding work is more complicated, yes.

Woman: What’s painful is work, to find work. For four months now I can’t find work.

Man with a beard: I simply left my wife without a gift for March 8th [International Women’s Day]. I gave her flowers that were grown at the White Dacha [a garden store].

Woman in glasses: Most painful of all, probably, is education that requires payment. And medical care, of course, exams, right now.

Blond woman: Well for now we can’t take a trip anywhere to vacation.

Young woman with pink hair: Let’s say, I used to take trips to London or to some place on the sea. But now, I spent last summer in Moscow.

Man in black hat: We travel more around Russia now.

Young woman in yellow coat: I suppose, I haven’t denied myself particularly in anything.

Other young woman: In fact, it’s true. In one way or another [one is] just more careful. We save less.

First young woman: Well, yes.

Man in glasses: The most important thing, as our parents say, as our grandparents said: “As long as there isn’t war.”

Blond woman: They are cutting back [laying off] everywhere. Everywhere they are cutting back [or laying off], and they are cutting money too [i.e. salaries], everywhere. And you know what the prices are like. In general I have no idea where we are going. And then they say that there won’t be war. You’ll see what kind of war there will be!


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