According to recent polls conducted by sociologists at the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), 76 percent of Russians are happy and only 17 percent are unhappy. The number of happy people has only slightly decreased in the last six months. Accoprding to the statistics, the family is a source of contentment for Russians, while material difficulties make them unhappy.
In Moscow, prices for consumer goods are rising, and some middle-aged Muscovites are stockpiling reserve goods. Russia looks richer in the snow. Muscovites, as they always have, stroll the main boulevard, Tverskaya Street, in their fur coats and hats on snowy evenings, basking in the holiday lights and decorations, their capital transformed into an icy wonderland.
Slated abroad, Russia's leader is sky-high in domestic approval ratings. Tom Parfitt in Moscow asks why. A punishing war abroad that sends men home to their families in coffins. Enduring corruption. A currency crisis and a stuttering economy. Pariah status at global summits.
Russians put their faith in the ruble even as an oil-market selloff and sanctions over Ukraine pushed the currency to a record low, a poll showed.
Since the Russian currency has lost around 40% of its value, it is much harder for locals to afford a trip abroad or shopping for the holidays.
The ruble tumbled the most since 2011 after a larger-than-forecast increase of Russia’s key interest rate failed to ease concern that the economy will remain hobbled by sanctions and capital flight.
Russia is the target of a global plot orchestrated by the United States and involving fighters from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and nationalist Ukrainian troops - that is the latest conspiracy theory broadcast on Russian state TV.
Russian inflation accelerated in August after the government banned food imports from the U.S. and the European Union, remaining above target for a 24th month and bolstering the central bank’s case for tightening policy.
Russians are backing Vladimir Putin as he confronts the U.S. and Europe over Ukraine, even if their wallets tell a different story. Putin’s popularity is soaring, along with consumer confidence and a gauge for “social comfort.”
Russian memories of hyperinflation are giving the central bank scope to keep raising interest rates should prices spiral following a government ban on U.S. and European food imports.
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