Russia faces economic challenges during New Year holiday

World Today

New Year’s is the most important holiday of the year for many Russians, but the economic gloom meant it got much harder for Russians to afford a trip abroad or to shop for the holidays. CCTV America’s Anya Ardayeva reported from Moscow.

Russia faces economic challenges during New Year holiday

New Year's is the most important holiday of the year for many Russians, but the economic gloom meant it got much harder for Russians to afford a trip abroad or to shop for the holidays. CCTV America's Anya Ardayeva reported from Moscow.

Russia was a major importer in 2013. Russia imports were worth over $300 billion, of which most were consumer goods. But Moscow banned most food imports from the EU and U.S. earlier this year as a response to western sanctions imposed against Russia for its involvement in Ukraine.

While the government said sanctions and a weaker rouble could stimulate local production, it was small business owners selling imported goods who have been hit the hardest.

Many Muscovites usually travel abroad over New Year’s. But Holiday travel plans for many were disrupted this year, because the cost of traveling abroad was now almost double what it was before the ruble’s decline.

But the general mood on the streets of Moscow remained largely positive. Many brush aside the the economic woes, saying they have lived through the financial troubles of 1998 and 2008. So Russians were getting ready to celebrate the New Year, Russia’s biggest holiday, and were putting off their worries until 2015.