Posted by Brad @ 2:53 pm on November 23rd 2008

Bye Bye Russia

The international financial crisis hits home.

MOSCOW — Russians have begun to feel the chill of the financial crisis, as it triggers layoffs and wage-payment delays reminiscent of the economic collapse in the late 1990s.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised new measures, including lower corporate taxes and higher unemployment payments, in addition to an existing bailout package.

Government data show that wage arrears jumped in October to over four billion rubles ($145 million), their highest level in a year, and that firms owe back pay to 300,000 people. Economists say the real figures are likely to be higher, though far below those seen in the 1990s, when tens of millions of people were affected. Then, workers went without salaries for months on end, sparking nationwide protests.

A Moscow-based advertising executive said she hadn’t been paid her salary of 40,000 rubles a month since September. “I keep going to work because I don’t want to lose all the money I’ve earned,” she said. “I’m hoping I might get paid before the New Year.”

The government has insisted there is no serious crisis and that Russia is much better off than Western countries, airing public reassurances on state television. But as the banking system stutters, the ruble falls and firms dismiss staff, that storyline is becoming harder to sell.

First on the chopping block: recent EFL teacher hires. My job offer got rescinded this weekend due to “economic conditions” and the school (which draws primarily from the Moscow business community for clients” is laying off 20% of its teaching staff and freezing new hires until September 2009 “at the earliest”.

So, given that I’ve arranged everything in my life towards moving to Russia in January, I’m SOL. I’m giving myself the week before I figure out my next move. No clue what I’ll be doing past Christmas now.


  1. Might I suggest heavy drinking and a spiral into degradation and male prostitution? It’s worked for many writers before you (well, possibly excepting the male prostitution bit, but it’s your responsibility to break new ground).

    Comment by Adam — 11/23/2008 @ 3:43 pm

  2. Man, it’s always “why not male prostitution, Brad?” with you. You’re not even being a little subtle. Have your regular service-providers dried up?

    Comment by Brad — 11/23/2008 @ 3:48 pm

  3. Got free time? Revive Equinox.

    Comment by Mortexai — 11/23/2008 @ 4:05 pm

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