November and December are known as the most depressing months in Moscow. The days are short and dark, and the weather is too cold and wet to be outdoors much, but still too hot and rainy to enjoy the true Russian winter.
This year, the sense of gloom is heightened by the sight of shuttered shops on many streets in the capital, as businesses grapple with the economic fallout from massive Western sanctions in response to the war in Ukraine, which Russian officials still call the “Military Operation.”
“The mood in Moscow and the country now is extremely dark, calm, intimidated and hopeless,” said Lisa, 34, who declined to give her last name and said she was a film producer. “The planning horizon is lower than ever. People have no idea what might happen tomorrow or a year from now.
While the shelves of most stores remain well stocked, Western products are becoming increasingly scarce and very expensive, further driving up the prices that are already hammering many Russian homes.
“Familiar products are disappearing, starting with toilet paper and Coca-Cola, ending with clothes,” Lisa said.
“Of course you can get used to all that, it’s not the worst thing at all,” she said.
But it also attacked Western governments and companies that left the Russian market in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
“I don’t really know how it helps to resolve the conflict, because it affects ordinary people, not those who make the decisions,” Lisa said.
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