Moscow, Mar 24 (EFE).- One month after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, life in Russia is like never before.
Unprecedented Western sanctions on Russia have crippled the economy, the country faces a shortage of medicine and other basic supplies, laws against freedom of speech have been introduced and numerous social networks have been blocked.
This is the unprecedented “new reality” in Russia since February 24.
But while Putin’s popularity is around 80%, a quarter of a million Russians have chosen to flee the country, according to independent sources.
SANCTIONS AND THE ECONOMY
Putin has called the numerous packages of fresh sanctions against Russia that have isolated the country and its economy from the rest of the world a “blitzkrieg”.
The European Union has excluded Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system while Russian gold and currency reserves abroad have been frozen.
The United States and EU have also closed their airspace to Russia, which responded by closing its airspace to Western airlines.
Sanctions have hit almost every sector of the Russian economy, including oligarchs who support the Kremlin with assets in the West.
But while it is the rich that were initially hit by sanctions, it is the ordinary Russians who will feel their effects in the long term, with inflation already up 12%.
Almost 60,000 Russians have lost their jobs due to sanctions and Western brands such as Apple, Ikea, Lego, Volkswagen and Inditex suspending operations in Russia, according to the government.
SOCIAL NETWORKS AND MEDIA
After slowing down Twitter and fining tech giants for their support of the democratic opposition, the Russian judiciary banned Facebook and Instagram this week.
The move came after their parent company, Meta, refused to remove calls for violence against Russians, including the military.
The Kremlin also introduced on March 4 a new law that sentences journalists that report “fake news” about the Russian military in Ukraine with up to 15 years in prison.
All Russian media are prohibited from using the words “war, invasion” or “aggression” to refer to what the Kremlin refers to as the “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Authorities also closed down two of the last independent media outlets in Russia.
The only source of information left in Russia is state television and the ministry of defense, which has not reported any casualties in its ranks since March 2.
SHORTAGE OF MEDICINE AND FOOD
One of the first indirect impacts the Russian people felt after the invasion of Ukraine was the shortage of medicine across pharmacies.
Although the government had banned foreign drug shipments to Russian territory, the current crisis demonstrates Russia’s pharmacological industry’s dependence on Western components.
Authorities have played down the crisis but a survey carried out by local press found that over 80 drugs are out of stock.
French pharmaceutical Sanofi was the last to suspend the supply of non-vital medicines to Russia.
The shortage extends to supermarkets, where there is a shortage of basic products such as sugar, toilet paper, “grechka” or buckwheat, a staple in Russia.
In addition, as the demand for basic products has spiked, prices have skyrocketed. EFE
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