Saturday, November 8, 2008

Crisis? For real?




I had a Russian friend ask me tonight whether I think the "crisis" is for real.

Funny - because I was wondering about the same thing myself, after reading a free Russian-language publication I picked up in a restaurant the other day. The cover story talks about the "financial crisis." The first article inside is a very self-referential piece about the crisis. A few pages in, an interview with a musical talks about making music in the period of a "crisis." Even the ad on the facing page talks about "How to take care of your family in a time of crisis." But - with all of this - I'm not sure how real this all is. I haven't been living here for awhile - so I don't have a large circle of friends. Among my roughly two dozen friends in Moscow, however, I don't know anyone who has lost a job. The shops are not stripped bare by hoarders, like they were during the financial crisis of 1998. The restaurants might be less crowded than they were nine months ago, but I haven't noticed the prices coming down. I haven't noticed hordes of homeless people on the streets, as they were during the Reagan years in the United States.

So - is there a crisis? I'll take it on faith - but perhaps the real effects aren't being felt yet.

(Here are some recent photos - completely unrelated to this topic. A church in the area of Kitay Gorod; a man walking a dog in the area of the university; a casino near my apartment. )