Despite an ongoing currency crisis, Russians crowd shopping malls in the capital for some last-minute holiday shopping. Nathan Frandino reports.
Despite a weakening and wavering rouble, a Moscow shopping mall is packed full of shoppers. Russians rushed to the stores Thursday to grab last-minute holiday gifts and get their hands on durable goods. This comes as the rouble plunged dramatically last week because of steep declines in oil prices. But thanks to a government order for exporters to sell some of their hard currency revenues, the rouble on Friday rose to its strongest levels in more than three weeks. One shopper says the currency crisis is forcing him to be more creative. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SHOPPER, PAVEL, SAYING : "I am trying to prepare more items by hand. Everyone is pleased, because I'm showing more creativity than last year. When there is money there is less creativity. You go to the shops and select what appears beautiful to you. When there isn't money, then you think and use your imagination and are creative." Russians remain divided on who to blame for the rouble's recent plunge, but many are beginning to feel the effects. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SHOPPER, ANASTASIA, SAYING: "It will affect us drastically because we are traveling to Europe and everything is getting more expensive because of the euro currency. We will do all of our shopping there and now we are just buying necessities for the winter to not be cold." Russian authorities have taken steps to halt the rouble's slide and curb inflation, which after years of stability may threaten President Vladimir Putin's reputation for ensuring the country's prosperity.