Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Saturday, 21 March 2009

Russia's economic crisis: Your stories

In the early days of the global financial crisis, Russian officials played down their country's exposure to the downturn. But it's now widely acknowledged that the crisis has hit Russia much harder than the government was initially prepared to admit.

The BBC Russian service gathered the opinions of people who had been affected by the economic downturn.


I worked for a year and a half as a media manager in one of the top design studios in Moscow. Then, when the world crisis began, there were some big changes in our company.

Yekaterina Davydova
Yekaterina Davydova, from Moscow works as a nanny to make ends meet
First we lost our free lunches, then there were staff cuts (I escaped the first round). We found ourselves suddenly "squashed together", when the office space was slashed. In January, my salary was cut by 20%.

Then, in February, I was hit by the second round of cuts. The company has now cut its workforce by a third. I was in shock after being laid off - where should I go, what should I do?

What makes it more difficult is that I live in a rented flat in Moscow, and I have to keep up the payments for it each month. I registered on the internet sites where they offer vacancies, straight away. But there was no stream of job offers.

Since I need some sort of income, I earn money however I can - I've recently been working as a nanny, sitting with a stranger's baby. I receive 120 roubles an hour (£2.50), although a professional nanny would get more than that. I've also remembered how I used to earn extra money as a student - I'm back writing-up coursework and degree essays.

I have also kept distributing my CV in the hope of getting a media manager job.

It is a shame there aren't that many of them. All the same, I will find a job in my specialist area. Perhaps not immediately, but in the near future.

For the time-being, I'm looking - and I can work as a secretary or a nanny. After all, he who looks will always find.


I felt the effects of the crisis right away.

I was working as a lawyer in one of the local state organisations. They announced there would be job cuts quickly, although they passed it off as "optimisation". So that is how I found myself without work.

Yuri Samsonov
I have sent out almost 300 copies of my CV
And it's a really difficult situation in small towns because it's difficult to find a job there even at the best of times.

I have been offered jobs, but of the sort with a salary that would not even allow me to feed myself. I took advice from my parents, and decided to move to Moscow.

It seemed to me that, despite the financial crisis, I'd have a much better chance of finding a job in the capital.

I'd seen a number of mates do the same thing - they did well and were earning decent money. But what I got to Moscow it was a disappointment.

I have sent out almost 300 copies of my CV, and went to a few interviews with potential employers.

Some of them said they'd have a think about my CV, others offered miserly salaries that would simply not allow me to live in such an expensive city.

So far, I've been unable to come up with anything better than working in a car wash!

Of course it's very tough work, without any sort of legal registration. We have days when there are so may cars we don't get to sit down.

There are lads from all over the place working with me here - some of them have higher education. It's not the good life that's brought them to work here. They've lost their jobs, need to feed themselves and their families.

On a good day, I can earn up to a thousand roubles (£21). but I've no idea what I'm going to do in the future. There are practically no suitable new vacancies. The crisis means that most companies have stopped recruitment.


My life changed in a big way at the end of last year.

I'd been working as an assistant producer for one of the Moscow TV channels.

Suddenly, everything changed. The management gathered us together and told us about the cuts.

Anzhela Tokayerva
Anzhela Tokayerva wants to get back into TV

I spent two months trying to find a job in television without success. It was as if they'd all conspired - some of the employers told me quite openly that they'd got nothing for their existing staff to do.

After that my mum helped me get a job as an accountant in one of the departments of the ministry of internal affairs.

To be honest, I still haven't got to grips with my new work. I regret wasting time on it, but I need to live on something of course. To make matters even worse, I get half of what I used to earn in my old job.

All this paperwork, forms, endless figures, really doesn't suit me. Sometimes it all frightens me, since the work is very scrupulous - I think I'm becoming the same!

I want to do what I love - TV. After all, you feel really happy when you go to do something you like. I'm definitely going back to TV once the crisis is over. The main question for me is just when that's going to happen.


I'd spent several years working in design, and had always been busy. I liked the way people valued what I used to do.

My last job was in one of the PR agencies in Ufa, where I worked as a designer.

Olga Yalynskaya
The financial crisis was a certain catalyst for us - it pushed us to develop our project

We all got the chop in December. They did offer me another job, but at a much lower salary. I think people should be paid adequately.

A friend and I had an idea some time ago. Before the crisis, she'd had a fairly successful business importing clothes from Belarus and selling them here. When I lost my job we decided to make the business internet based. After all, it would be really expensive to try to keep a number of retail outlets going here in Ufa.

I'm now working on our website, and we hope to get it up and running soon.

For the time being, I'm living on quite a modest unemployment benefit, and my parents are also helping me out.

I really can't say how we'll get on with the new business yet. We're concerned that consumers here really like to touch and try on clothes before buying them - and you can't do that online.

We have been thinking about this for some time but never quite got around to it. It's likely that the financial crisis was a certain catalyst for us - it pushed us to develop our project. I think it'll turn out fine.

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