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Russia's rich tighten their belts

Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 02:16

Life's getting a bit tougher at the top of Russia's rich list amid a deepening economic crisis, forcing some to forego their usual luxuries. Even so, many still back Vladimir Putin. Hayley Platt reports.

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Russian model Alisa Krylova is a regular at her local beauty salon in Moscow. It's a luxury she isn't giving up. But tough economic conditions are forcing her and many other rich Russians to make concessions. She's already cancelled her new Mercedes, employs Russian staff rather than foreigners and holidays at home. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN MODEL, ALISA KRYLOVA, SAYING: "We didn't fly abroad on holiday this year because I did not see the point in paying three times over the odds for holidays. I haven't spent holidays in Moscow for a long time. We didn't spend time together with the children during the school holidays. So we decided to have great holiday in Moscow and St. Petersburg and go to museums, theatres, everywhere, and we had a wonderful time. It was great to go to Red Square to see the Christmas tree, and I think it was just as good as skiing in Austria or France." Russia's economy has been crushed by falling oil prices and economic sanctions over Ukraine. It's caused the rouble to fall by 40 percent over the past year. Many of the super rich have retreated to their homes until the situation improves. President Putin has been appealing to leading businessmen to repatriate their offshore riches to help prop up the economy. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN MODEL, ALISA KRYLOVA, SAYING: "He said very clearly - you've got enough for a good standard of living, you've already earned everything you need, so please bring everything back to Russia so we can lift up our country, and he is right." Some of Russia's local businesses are also feeling the pinch. Like Vladimir Tikhomirov, a chef at Moscow's Russian Seasons restaurant. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CHEF OF 'RUSSIAN SEASONS' RESTAURANTS, VLADIMIR TIKHOMIROV, SAYING: "Now people still come and have a four-course lunch as they used to in the past, but they don't come two or three times a week now, rather once or twice a week." It's also have an impact on the fashion world too. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MUSCOVITE ALINA, FASHION SHOW SPECTATOR, SAYING: "Of course, purchasing power went down, prices went up, these are normal economic processes and they affect all spheres of life - food, oil, banks and fashion, of course." Alisa isn't too worried. Her wealthy husband is still managing to scratch out a living. And she still takes the odd trip to France and Italy to stock up on her favourite cheeses. Such luxuries have been banned by Russia in retaliation over Western sanctions.

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Russia's rich tighten their belts

Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 02:16