Eat less, use beetroot instead of lipstick, swap French lingerie for Russian-made cotton panties and remember that hardships are a test from God.
These and other tips are being offered to Russians by lawmakers, top policy makers and the Russian orthodox Church as the gravity of the economic crisis sinks in and prices soar.The country pulled through great hardships before, officials say , and people should tighten their belts for their leader Vladimir Putin and a great Russia amid the confrontation with the West over Ukraine. “I lived both under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, but Putin is the first president for whom I am being asked to eat less,“ one Russian, Andrey Kozenko, said on Twitter. His quip would be funny if it were not sad. Government members admit they lack a plan to tackle the crisis brought on by falling oil prices and Western sanctions and warn it may last for years.
From affluent Moscow to the farflung regions, Russians are feeling the pain: with some foregoing foreign travel while others pinch pennies to buy food.
Last week lawmaker Ilya Gaffner was monitoring price hikes at a grocery store in the Urals city when an elderly woman told him she could no longer afford sugar for her disabled son. His advice to her? Eat less. “If there is not enough money you have to remember that we are Russians, we survived hunger and cold, we have to think about our health and eat less,“ said the deputy in the Sverdlovsk region legislative chamber, sporting a double chin. His remarks caused outrage -and a barrage of unprintable online comments -forcing a ruling party lawmaker to recommend that Gaffner think twice before speaking.
But as the crisis deepens, anger grows. “I absolutely don’t trust our corrupt authorities,“ said Yulia Galich, 43. “And since there’s no trust, there’s no desire to endure this. For whom? For Putin or Shuvalov?“ “We will withstand all hardships in this country , eat less food, use less electricity,“ first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov told Davos elites at the World Economic Forum. “If a Russian feels external pressure, he will never give his leader up,“ said Shuvalov, who is believed to be one of the wealthiest government officials.