Russians face 24% inflation as Western sanctions trigger deepest recession since fall of USSR

Russian families face a 24% rise in inflation as tough Western sanctions are set to plunge the country into its deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union

  • Panic buying and unaffordable grocery shopping are becoming the norm in Russia
  • The average wage is only a quarter of that in the UK, but coffee costs 70% and sugar 30
  • Photographer Oleg, 33, said: ‘I think that’s what the Germans felt with Hitler’
  • Economic isolation has crippled the nation’s finances – Russians are paying the price

Soaring prices and panic buying have become part of the new reality for ordinary Russians.

Harsh Western sanctions are expected to plunge the country into its deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago.

In a country where the average monthly wage is £520 – a quarter of that in the UK – the price of a new TV has risen from the equivalent of £150 in January to £350 today.

Buyers vie for sugar amid shortages in Primorye region in Russia’s remote Far East

Instant coffee has increased by almost 70% and sugar by 30%.

Feminine hygiene products have been hit by supply shortages and the cost of a pregnancy test has soared by more than 80%.

There are also shortages of around 80 types of drugs, including insulin and painkillers.

Experts estimate that inflation will reach 24% this year.

The Mail on Sunday spoke to a cross-section of Russians to find out how their lives have changed since the measures were introduced.

Oleg, a 33-year-old photographer, said: “The black markets opened up. I used an alley to change rubles into dollars and hid them under my bed.

“I don’t know if the notes are real.”

He added: “I think that’s what the Germans felt with Hitler.”

Ivan, a 26-year-old programmer, wants to go abroad, but “can’t save enough money to emigrate”.

Student Liza, 20, said: ‘There is no sugar in the shops and as soon as it arrives all the grannies argue.

“People are buying sanitary napkins and selling them for exorbitant prices online.”

More than 500 companies have withdrawn from Russia, according to Yale University.

Daria, a 32-year-old business owner, said the situation looked like ‘betrayal’, adding: ‘Imagine everything is closed except Tesco and Primark, and half the shelves are just toilet paper.

“Russia becomes North Korea.”

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