Russian Sanctions

Some good advice
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Russian politics

This is what sanctions in Russia look like (above and below).

Russian politics

A buddy of mine in Russia (east of Moscow) just sent these to me. He says that you can still buy everything, except that food is more expensive and anything imported (think Western products) is even more expensive. But in the end, the stores are still open, people are still going to work and food is getting eaten.

I did a quick Google search and I see that Lufthansa has canceled a lot of flights to Russia as have many other airlines. It seems that the sanctions are hurting those who travel (not the lower classes).

I’ve always chosen to avoid politics on this website. I guess its just not the place for it. I’ve been to bars with signs, “No politics, no religion.” And for good reason: many people, well, you just can’t change their politics (or religion) and talking about it just makes for bad feelings.

But, it would be irresponsible of me to NOT talking about the current situation in Russia (and Ukraine) because it will impact many of the readers of this website. Specifically those who are planning a trip to Eastern Europe (EE) and those who are thinking about it. There are three ways in which the sanctions will impact you and your decision to go to the East in search of a Wife.

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First, while there is food on the shelves in Russia (and Ukraine), the exchange rate has doubled (was 30 Rubles to a dollar, now about 65) and inflation has skyrocketed. This has caused a lot of economic hardship. One of the main reasons that many EE Women come West is for economic reasons. Economic problems have compounded and there are more Russian Women who want to “escape” to the West now more than ever. People are finding it more and more difficult to live. A Woman who is considering marriage and family will find her choices limited in Russia. If ever you were considering ditching Western women, now might be your golden opportunity.

And second, with the crash of the Ruble comes a cheaper vacation for you. I just checked the price for my favorite “by the airport” hotel in my Wife’s home city. Prices for this hotel are normally $95 – $129 per night. Right now, I see that the hotel is priced at $45 per night. The lowered Ruble means that there are exceptional travel bargains in Russia now. The price of everything when measured in dollars (or Euros) is much less than before. Bus tickets are half to one third the price from a year ago. Anything denominated in Rubles is cheaper when you’re buying with Western money.

Ukraine is in the same boat: their currency was thrashed and there is economic hardship there as well. I just read a report that Russia and Ukraine’s populations have shrunk by 10% in the last decade. If you’ve lived in Russia or Ukraine, you’ll know why. Life there isn’t easy. And lately, it is getting harder. I believe that we will see a mass exodus of people from Russia in the next few years.

Some things to keep in mind if you’re traveling to Russia (or some parts of Ukraine). Not everyone is happy with the West now. Keep a low profile. If you are going to speak English, keep your voice down. Don’t go out late at night and stay away from trouble spots and especially any sort of protest or civil agitation. I’ve read of foreign businesses getting thrashed and you don’t want to spend your vacation in the hospital.

Don’t take this warning that you shouldn’t go. By all means, if you meet a Woman in EE, go for it. Just keep your wits about you and use common sense.

Good luck!

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Some good advice
Meet Victoria

22 thoughts on “Russian Sanctions

  1. i was in lviv in mid march. the exchange rate was 29 hryvnia to one us dollar. I’m going again in a few weeks and just checked the rate. its actually better for them, 22 hryvnia to one buck. i did wonder why the airfare was so much more. less flights means more demand and less seats. I’m actually flying into krakow and taking the overnight train to lviv. it was a lot cheaper. i arrive at 6am but can’t check into my apartment until noon. my girl has to work that day but is meeting me at the station before she goes to work. we will get breakfast and catch up better than emails/skype can do. i noticed the apartment rates were about the same. the price didn’t really drop any. my theory is lviv is a bit off the radar and not a major tourist stop (yet), so a lot of the fluctuations don’t hit it as soon or as hard. i agree with scott its better to keep a low profile. in march there were a few protests in lviv. and actually some people were glad to see a tourist since the protest at that time was directed more at russia/moscow. they were glad to see me/my money. but unless you know what the protest is about its best to avoid them.

    • Thanks for your comment Tim.

      The Hryvnia was about 11 to a dollar about a year and a half ago and deflated to as low as 37 per dollar at the height of the crisis. Since Kiev settled down, the Hryvnia has recovered to the 22-24 range that you’ve mentioned but it is still twice what it was before the war. This means that in Ukraine, the cost of a hotel is 1/2 of what it was 18 months ago.

      Good idea taking the train to Russia – my first trip to Lviv was by way of a flight to Warsaw, then train to Krakow – great countryside to see by train.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes for you!

      • I’ve taken the train before. when i met my girl in lviv we took a mini vacation to krakow…got to meet mom who was working there at the time. train was comfortable but you don’t see much at night. also was hard to sleep. four border checkpoints about every 45 minutes. but watching the sunrise out out window was very nice

  2. Thank you Scott for your well thought out advice. Its true, too, in Ukraine. My wife tells me nearly everyday, after talking to her mom, how electricity has risen 300%. Food keeps going up day after day. Yes, life goes on, however they’re tough people. And to be honest, these hardships for my wife, makes me appreciate her so much more than a spoiled western woman. My wife sews, fixes things, cooks every meal, cleans all of our clothes, and not once, NOT ONCE, has she ever complained or whined or got depressed. Their lives are tough compared to the west, where everything can be bought. In Ukraine, they have to rely on themselves or their families and they understand their role in the family structure, without griping.

    I just now asked her if she’s happy here in Germany or does she miss Ukraine or is she bored or lonely? She laughed and said no, she’s too busy. I work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, and guess what? So does she! She can’t stop with our little one demanding more and more attention and all of the household needs (yesterday she cleaned, by hand, 3 large floor carpets). To me, this is the family I dreamed of. Where I can work these crazy hours and be supported and not nagged about being gone all the time, or I don’t give enough attention. Sure, she misses me and I miss her, but she respects what I am doing for her and our daughter. And she gives every bit of it back, without question or conflict. Its symbiosis in its true human form.

    Thanks again Scott for your thought provoking article. Made me get on my soap box once again. :)

    • rodney,
      i hope to be as lucky as you. and you’re 100% correct about western women complaining about work. do they actually think id rather put in the long hard hours or would i rather be home enjoying my family? but you work hard for the family and what is lost on most western women is that they also need to work hard for the family. the family is like you said symbiosis. and you can see that here in america where the family unit is gone or doesnt exist there are the biggest problems.

    • When I was in the service, I had a few tours in the sandbox. Interestingly, the bases that were bombed on a regular basis, the same bases where our troops were fired on every time they stuck their heads out of the wire, you never heard complaints about the food, the MWR (moral tent) or about the internet service. Everyone was happy to be alive and they appreciated the meal regardless of how meager it was.

      On the bases that were in the rear with the gear, well, if you didn’t have high speed internet, you had better be ready for complaints. No steak and lobster on Saturday night? (literally), get ready for letters to Congressmen.

      Our decadent Western success has created a generation of narcissist pigs. And when you insert stinking feminism feminism into 1/2 of the population, well, it’s like Chernobyl.

    • I am always amazed by your personal stories Rodney. It seems like business as usual in your family unit but I am still amazed by all this work, it is done without any complaining or resentment.

      • Hey Seeker,

        Never saw the movie and therefore had to look up the meaning in your question. No, I didn’t dream of such a lady because that would be about impossible to happen, of course. My dream was just to find a lady with Eastern European roots because I knew they were family oriented, feminine, beautiful and cultured. This dream came true, which it appears our fellow blogger Paul, is soon coming to his realization.

        • Hey Rodney!
          That movie is before my time.
          I would not want a robot but a real woman that is not western.
          Apparently someone is using my name Seeker but failed to realize our emblems are different.

          • Original Seeker!

            Yeah, I thought that was a strange question coming from you, so that explains it. You have a twin running around, but glad you caught the imposter.

        • Oh, I had thought you just forgot your email address! LOL

          Are you saying that isn’t you, its an impostor? Oh, this will make for some interesting drama.

          I’ll change the “impostor” to Seeker2.

          You should feel flattered, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”

          • No. That is not me.
            Seeker 2 is cool.
            Maybe Seeker 2 wants a Russian or FSU girl too.
            We will see in the next couple of weeks…what their intentions are… it might be like peeling an onion…

          • It probably is that he cut and pasted one of your messages to quote you and accidentally pasted your name and now it auto-fills each time he comments – I see that he commented as “Seeker” again. I wonder how many changes before he realizes and just puts “Seeker 2” or “George” or some other name ;-)

  3. Very informative post.

    I don’t read or watch mainstream news but they clearly work for the same people actively working to crash economies around the world (including America’s) by scaring away tourism to other countries and making the west seem like a haven of some kind.

    When you see enough of the reality of these ‘enemy’ nations including places like Iran it’s the same story. Yeah, they have their problems but media does a good job of making it seem ten times worse than it actually is.

    I have a friend that came here to Canada from Africa and fell into that trap. He came here for a better life a few years ago and now he thinks this country is going to kill him and he’s do better in his home country that has corrupt police and a bad government (his own words). Plus he says they women here are almost all fat and ugly. Go figure.

    • I’m going to have to agree. I went to Iran once, nicest people I ever met. Alana (my Wife) has a Russian girlfriend who married an Iranian Man. Now she wears a head scarf and follows “strict” Muslim law and she couldn’t be happier.

      Alana always laughs, “What has your feminism brought you?”

    • “He came here for a better life a few years ago and now he thinks this country is going to kill him and he’s do better in his home country that has corrupt police and a bad government (his own words). Plus he says they women here are almost all fat and ugly.”
      — — —
      I have heard that gripe many times before from foreign men. I would say at least 90 percent them are in the west for economic or political (political means the very real threat of physical harm or death) reasons. Let’s be honest most people do not want to leave their homeland unless they feel like they are being pushed out, etc. for some reason.

  4. Good topic Scott, something I’d been meaning to ask in the forums re: safety for Western visitors.

    I have some sympathy for the people of Eastern Europe and the role Western governments have played in building tensions in Ukraine. Without getting too political (as you say at the start of this piece), the hypocrisy of Western politicians disgusts me, so I’d imagine if a Russian man was hostile towards me as a Westerner, I’d most likely be agreeing with his views on the situation.

    Keeping a low profile is something i’m very good at, and I also hate nightclubs so won’t be out late anyways! Another good reason to dress like the locals.

  5. “I’ve read of foreign businesses getting thrashed and you don’t want to spend your vacation in the hospital.”
    — —
    Were they McDonald’s restaurants? If not, it’s probably still safe to go.

  6. Well, it’s not only the sanctions who have made this situation in Russia. It’s too the drop of the oil exchange rate. And as you know, russian economy depend a lot on oil and don’t have an economy sufficiently diversified. Another thing is that the situation in China is not good in economy for the moment, and Russia has a lot of commercial trade with this country.
    And this is the difference between Russia and Ukraine which has arrived to stabilise his economy, because despite his dependence in gas and oil, they have more diversity in their economy. And they have reduced their dependence in gas, especially with Russia, particularly with Putin and his mafia’s war in Ukraine (and I really make a difference between Putin and the Russians, because first I like Ukrainians and I like Russians too, and second I know that many Russians don’t approve this war, don’t have the same opinion as Putin and don’t believe the russian propaganda told on many medias).
    Ukrainians don’t hate Russians and don’t want to tell about politics, but most of them hate Putin.

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