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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Ruble Dive A Bitter Pill For Russians

For the ordinary Russian, the effect of the ruble's continuing plunge is as disastrous as it is immediate: The prices of imported goods are soaring out of reach, while Russian producers are unable to fill the void with products for rubles. The ruble, which dropped to 393 to the dollar Tuesday on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, is now worth just half of what it was two months ago and by nearly all forecasts it will go lower still. This means that a typical Russian earning 9, 000 rubles per month (which is on the high side) now earns $22. 50. Is it any wonder the average Russian is so desperate to find work for hard currency? Or that signs are pasted at the entrances to apartment buildings all over Moscow: ""Rent your apartment for hard currency? "" When the ruble dives by half- as it has done since Sept. 1 - the price of imported goods doubles. That candy bar that used to cost 50 rubles now goes for 110 rubles.

UPDK Faces Market Music

UPDK, the bureaucracy created by Lenin to oversee virtually every aspect of life for foreign residents in Russia, is struggling to cope with business competition, an image problem, and financial woes, the organization's new chief said. Yury Proshin, 47, who took over this summer as UPDK's director, said that UPDK's transition to the market economy has been a tricky one. An experienced bureaucrat who was the mayor of Solnichnogorsk for nearly a decade, Proshin became deputy minister of Social Security of the Russian Federation in 1989. Two years later, he became deputy manager of the Soviet Ministry Committee. After the failed August putsch and Boris Yeltsin's rise to power, Proshin rebounded as a deputy in the president's domestic directory. On July 31, he was named head of UPDK, which has not been held in high esteem among many foreigners over the years. Proshin is aware of the image problem with his clientele of about 30, 000 foreigners, and he is trying to address it. But that is not easy, he said.

Russian Group Observes Election Home Stretch

Fifteen novices from seven Russian political parties arrived in Washington, D. C. , this week to observe the final frantic days in the U. S. general election campaigns. The trip is being sponsored by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, said Josh Freeman, a representative of the institute's Moscow office, which opened this summer. The Russians bring with them various levels of experience. Mikhail Schneider, who has been involved in two campaigns for the Democratic Russia party, said he does not anticipate many differences. ""I think Russians and Americans are very much alike"", Schneider said. Schneider and Vladimir Zharikin of the People's Party of Free Russia were in the United States this summer to observe party conventions. Now, Zharikin said he is eager to get a close look at the campaign process. ""I want to know how it is possible for such a small group of about 1, 500 people to organize all the big projects before the election"", he said.
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