Russians Face Silencing and Economic Hardship Following Invasion of Ukraine

Chinese people in Russia complained that the war has caused an economic recession. The turmoil has caused chaotic schemes with people lining up to withdraw cash and to shop for goods, and the regime is arresting protesters who are against the war. They said that locals were angry about the negative consequences of the invasion of Ukraine, and continue to protest. “All my Russian friends and neighbors told me that they oppose the war. The majority of Russian people thought that it’s incorrect to invade another country no matter what the other country did,” a Chinese resident of St. Petersburg surnamed Yang told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times on March 8. “Every day, a lot of protesters are arrested, and a lot of new protesters stand out [in St. Petersburg].” A Chinese Moscow resident surnamed Han said in a phone interview on March 8, that authorities had started clamping down on dissenting voices. “Now in Moscow, the police will fine you if you say one sentence that opposes the war. The police will detain you and arrest you if you dare to say more,” Han said. “I heard that the Russian Ministry of Culture ordered theaters in Moscow to keep silent about the war.” Both Yang and Han didn’t feel safe talking to the media about Russia’s invasion, and declined to reveal their first names. Women walking towards Izmailovo flea market in Moscow, Russia on Feb. 10, 2021. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) Yang and Han said that the Russian people are against the war not only because of injustice and inhumanity, but also because they hate the panic the war has brought to Russia. They said that everyone in Russia is suffering a lot, although their hardships are lighter than those faced by the Ukrainian people. “Russia’s economy is in winter. The war brought Russia back to the 1990s. The impact is far-reaching,” Yang said. “We (Yang and her Russian friends) don’t think the economy can recover in the next 10 years.” “The devaluation of the Russian ruble is very severe. It has already depreciated by 30 percent,” Han said. “People are thinking of solutions to keep the value of their savings.” Money Woes Han explained that inflation is very bad in Russia, and the prices are skyrocketing. To protect the value of their savings, Russian people try to shop often and quickly. “Everywhere, you can see people are lining up to withdraw the cash from the ATM machines or from the bank’s counters,” Han said. “[After getting cash], people are rushing to markets and trying to buy the goods no matter whether they need [them] or not.” Han and her husband went to Ashan, a large chain supermarket in Russia, on March 8, and felt a lot of pressure. “The supermarket is very different today [compared with before the war]. It’s full of shoppers and everybody’s face is full of worry,” Han said. “The food amount is sufficient and the cashiers are kind, but all shoppers and cashiers are in panic.” Han said people around her talked about the progress of the war and how soon the war will end. “My friends told me that the inflation will increase more and more in the near future,” Han said. “We are very worried about our future.” Russian ruble coins and banknotes next to a Russian ruble sign in Moscow on August 13, 2021. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images) Yang said she and her Russian friends were trying to change all their rubles into U.S. dollars. “The official price of a U.S. dollar increased from over 70 rubles [before the war] to 130 rubles today. But you can’t buy any U.S. dollars from the banks. They won’t sell to you,” Yang said. “You can only buy the U.S. dollars on the black market. Today, the black market price [of one U.S. dollar] increased to 200 rubles.” On March 9, Russia’s central bank announced a prohibition on buying U.S. dollars and other hard currencies using rubles for the next six months. Li operates a freight transportation business in a Chinese trading market in Moscow. He told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that the businessmen in the market were worried about the fate of the young Russian soldiers. “We heard a lot of young soldiers died on the frontlines. How can their families face these losses?” Li said. “We are all against the war.” Follow Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.

Russians Face Silencing and Economic Hardship Following Invasion of Ukraine

Chinese people in Russia complained that the war has caused an economic recession. The turmoil has caused chaotic schemes with people lining up to withdraw cash and to shop for goods, and the regime is arresting protesters who are against the war.

They said that locals were angry about the negative consequences of the invasion of Ukraine, and continue to protest.

“All my Russian friends and neighbors told me that they oppose the war. The majority of Russian people thought that it’s incorrect to invade another country no matter what the other country did,” a Chinese resident of St. Petersburg surnamed Yang told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times on March 8.

“Every day, a lot of protesters are arrested, and a lot of new protesters stand out [in St. Petersburg].”

A Chinese Moscow resident surnamed Han said in a phone interview on March 8, that authorities had started clamping down on dissenting voices.

“Now in Moscow, the police will fine you if you say one sentence that opposes the war. The police will detain you and arrest you if you dare to say more,” Han said. “I heard that the Russian Ministry of Culture ordered theaters in Moscow to keep silent about the war.”

Both Yang and Han didn’t feel safe talking to the media about Russia’s invasion, and declined to reveal their first names.

Epoch Times Photo
Women walking towards Izmailovo flea market in Moscow, Russia on Feb. 10, 2021. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)

Yang and Han said that the Russian people are against the war not only because of injustice and inhumanity, but also because they hate the panic the war has brought to Russia. They said that everyone in Russia is suffering a lot, although their hardships are lighter than those faced by the Ukrainian people.

“Russia’s economy is in winter. The war brought Russia back to the 1990s. The impact is far-reaching,” Yang said. “We (Yang and her Russian friends) don’t think the economy can recover in the next 10 years.”

“The devaluation of the Russian ruble is very severe. It has already depreciated by 30 percent,” Han said. “People are thinking of solutions to keep the value of their savings.”

Money Woes

Han explained that inflation is very bad in Russia, and the prices are skyrocketing. To protect the value of their savings, Russian people try to shop often and quickly.

“Everywhere, you can see people are lining up to withdraw the cash from the ATM machines or from the bank’s counters,” Han said. “[After getting cash], people are rushing to markets and trying to buy the goods no matter whether they need [them] or not.”

Han and her husband went to Ashan, a large chain supermarket in Russia, on March 8, and felt a lot of pressure.

“The supermarket is very different today [compared with before the war]. It’s full of shoppers and everybody’s face is full of worry,” Han said. “The food amount is sufficient and the cashiers are kind, but all shoppers and cashiers are in panic.”

Han said people around her talked about the progress of the war and how soon the war will end.

“My friends told me that the inflation will increase more and more in the near future,” Han said. “We are very worried about our future.”

Epoch Times Photo
Russian ruble coins and banknotes next to a Russian ruble sign in Moscow on August 13, 2021. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

Yang said she and her Russian friends were trying to change all their rubles into U.S. dollars.

“The official price of a U.S. dollar increased from over 70 rubles [before the war] to 130 rubles today. But you can’t buy any U.S. dollars from the banks. They won’t sell to you,” Yang said. “You can only buy the U.S. dollars on the black market. Today, the black market price [of one U.S. dollar] increased to 200 rubles.”

On March 9, Russia’s central bank announced a prohibition on buying U.S. dollars and other hard currencies using rubles for the next six months.

Li operates a freight transportation business in a Chinese trading market in Moscow. He told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that the businessmen in the market were worried about the fate of the young Russian soldiers.

“We heard a lot of young soldiers died on the frontlines. How can their families face these losses?” Li said. “We are all against the war.”


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Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.