WELCOME to sanctions-hit Russia – where heating costs and fuel prices are a fraction of those in the UK.
Food costs are also falling every month and Vladimir Putin’s people are partying like there’s no war.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Boris Johnson pledged that Western sanctions would “rock Russia’s economy”.
In March, as Secretary of State, Liz Truss announced 65 sanctions and vehemently declared: “Putin should have no illusions. We are united with our allies and will continue to tighten the screws on the Russian economy to help it fail in Ukraine. There will be no let up.”
But six months later, while we’re paying the price for the invasion with a crippling cost-of-living crisis, Moscow locals are optimistic.
It’s not surprising. Despite claims they would face serious food shortages, shoppers in Pyaterochka, Russia’s answer to Tesco, are stacking their trolleys with groceries half the price of ours.
In August, food prices in the UK rose at their highest rate since the 2008 economic crash, rising 10.5 percent year-on-year.
In July, food inflation had accelerated to 9.3 percent as the war in Ukraine and the resulting rise in prices for animal feed, fertilizer, wheat and vegetable oils put increasing pressure on prices.
Things are very different in Moscow, where food prices have fallen 11.3 percent since the beginning of the year.
CASH RICH COUNTRY
Strategy specialist Professor Michael Clarke explained how Russia had managed to buck the trend: “Their government now has the money to subsidize food and as long as they have oil and energy money they can keep going down.
“But nobody can imagine how high the energy price will be next year. From next year it will be much more difficult for them.
“At some point I think their economy will be in very bad shape, either next year or the year after.
“But that depends on the price of energy.
“The ruble is doing well because they get people to buy and sell with just the ruble. That will keep the currency strong for a while longer.”
But the visiting professor at the University of Exeter warned of the pain to come, adding: “Sanctions have always been a long-term policy.
“Russia is a solvent country because of energy prices and that will probably be the case until this time next year.
“But the sanctions are affecting the underlying economy of Russia in quite fundamental ways, leaving the underlying economy in a mess, although people in Moscow and St. Petersburg haven’t realized it yet.
“If the underlying economy starts to crack, the ruble is likely to fall through the floor.”
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the special committee on foreign affairs, said this shows why the West must remain closed and stand up to Putin.
He told The Sun on Sunday: “Putin has waged a physical war on Ukraine and an economic war on the rest of us.
“He’s using the money British households pay in additional fuel bills to subsidize prices in Russia and is holding us all hostage to his dictatorship.
“We must be clear that we will not bow to tyranny and work together to ensure we protect British families from this brutal dictator.”
But on store shelves, the cost of Russia’s staple cabbage has fallen 40 percent in 25 regions, with a 33 percent drop nationwide.
Potatoes were down 28 percent, beetroot down 27 percent, grapes down 16 percent, bananas down 14 percent, tomatoes down 14 percent, carrots down 13 percent, pears down 11 percent and apples down six percent.
A few things have stayed the same, including Russia’s most popular Five Lakes vodka, which still costs 379 rubles (£5.40) for a 350ml bottle.
Milk, eggs, tea bags and sugar are also in the red lately, but cost more than before the war started.
Potatoes cost 43p per kg, apples £1.86 per kg and a loaf of bread 57p – around half the price in the UK. However, some goods cost the same, such as B. Ground beef at £8.50 per kg.
In addition to increased food costs, we are faced with rising prices for fueling our cars.
We had record unleaded petrol prices in June of £1.91 a liter, while in Russia it costs between 63p and 78p a liter.
We have also been left with soaring energy bills. Gas prices were already high before the Ukraine war as demand increased after Covid restrictions were lifted.
But prices have skyrocketed after the invasion because Russia is one of the largest gas producers in the world.
Continental Europe is heavily dependent on Russian gas, prompting fears of winter blackouts, rationing and plant closures in Germany.
Only a tiny fraction of Britain’s gas comes directly from Russia, but the UK relies more on gas for electricity than its European neighbors because it has less nuclear and renewable energy.
In Russia, they saw an average monthly increase of 10 percent, but in the UK, energy bills are expected to rise by 80 percent.
In St. Petersburg — Putin’s hometown — driver Igor Ivanov, 34, and his wife Anya, 28, an accountant, earn a combined income of £18,000 and live in a two-bedroom flat.
Igor told The Sun on Sunday: “We are facing a 10 per cent increase. So the bills will rise to around £43 a month. We won’t get cold.”
It’s a sentiment shared by saleswoman Tanya Sokolova.
Despite living in a city where temperatures drop to -35C, her fuel payment for her one-bedroom flat is £52.24 a month.
Tanya, 29, told The Sun on Sunday: “I’ve had a 16 per cent increase which brings my payments to £52.24.
“It’s no more than ten percent of my income, and we’ve had hot water piped into our homes 24 hours a day, so I’ll be fine.
“I don’t like Putin’s war. Prices have gone up and we’re affected, but I should be able to pay my bills this winter.”
Life goes on as usual, nightclubs burst, bars are packed and river boats are packed with revelers.
But the Russians get their news from state television, which says Ukraine is being invaded by Nazis and that Britain is actively arming Ukraine.
Professor Clarke added: “People in Russia don’t get the full history of the war, that’s for sure.
“People are starting to pick up the idea that they are not being given the full truth. If you watch their TV, they have crazy experts on.
“They think the war is Britain driven, we are behind it and they want to bomb us.”
However, there are a few small signs that the sanctions are finally taking hold.
A poll this week found that 80 percent of Russians have lost their life savings since Putin went to war.
One in five said they had lost almost all of their savings, and eight percent had completely lost their financial cushion.
Some western goods have completely disappeared. Oligarchs can no longer buy luxury cars like Rolls-Royce or Bentley.
A 16-inch MacBook Pro that was £2,235 on the day war broke out is now £4,579 and Scotch whiskey has tripled in price and is much harder to come by.
Maria Kiselova, 33, a teacher from Siberia, says she has noticed increases in drug prices.
Counting her rubles carefully, she said: “Sanitary napkins are up 55 percent since the beginning of the year.
“For me the biggest problem is literally that I can’t buy Nurofen, it’s just not available. Beer is also up nine percent.”
Opposite the Kremlin, the designer brands Boss, Bulgari, Dior and Hermes have ceased trading. But many don’t care.
Miss Moscow Anna Yankova, 24, said: “Of course it’s a pity that some companies have left, but Russian designers quickly occupied their niches.”
Meanwhile, Sofia, 39, the wife of a millionaire and a staunch Putin supporter, has been finding ways to shop the designer clothes she loves in the UK.
She said: “Boris Johnson thought we were fools. We’re rich enough to get our clothes and perfumes from other countries, even those that supposedly “ban” Russians from stores.
“I’m now waiting for my new outfits in a show routed through Kazakhstan, which my friend bought for me in London.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6142322/russia-uk-prices-sanctions-food/ Welcome to sanctions-hit Russia, where prices are LOW while the UK suffers from rising inflation