A Russian Woman Told Us How Hard It Is To Shop With The Boycotts Over Ukraine

It's even harder to find real news 🤐

Natalia Konstantinova. Right: Closed shops in Russia.
Global Staff Writer

Natalia Konstantinova. Right: Closed shops in Russia.

If you look around a Russian mall right now, you'll see what happens when your leader starts a war with Ukraine.

You'll see empty storefronts, "now closed" signs everywhere and some pretty bleak-looking malls where you can't buy a Big Mac, a pair of Levis, an Ikea bookshelf or an iPhone anymore.

St. Petersburg resident Natalia Konstantinova recently spoke to Narcity about what it's like to shop in Russia right now, after sharing several videos of all the boycott-closed stores in her city. She also said it's hard for Russians to understand how much worse it is in Ukraine right now, because Russia is censoring most news about the war.

"The majority of people are, like, literally brainwashed right now," she said. "As we live in these times of censorship and war, they try to create some kind of unity maybe between the people [of Russia for us] to show support."

Konstaninova recently footage of all the closed stores in a video posted to Instagram last week, before Russians were banned from using the platform.

Hundreds of international brands have stopped doing business in the country since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his invasion last month.

Konstantinova says that although Russia is losing shops like Adidas, H&M and Sephora, those brands were already too expensive for many people in the country.

"Many Russians are so happy with that because most Russians are so poor that they could never allow themselves to buy these brands. I've never used any of these shops that I showed you, except maybe H&M," she told Narcity.

"Here, people spend and save from their salary for months to go and buy a t-shirt from Adidas," she said.

However, Konstantinova did join many others in rushing out to get a final taste of McDonald's earlier this month, after the brand said it would temporarily close an estimated 800 stores in support of Ukraine.

"We ordered the last one for my daughter, the Happy Meal. But it's through delivery, and it came very fast," she said.

She added that prices have skyrocketed for everyday items since the war started, and many things are sold out online and at her local stores.

"Yesterday we went to check online because we wanted to order, and then I saw prices like 5,000 rubles when it was supposed to cost something like 300 rubles," Konstantinova said.

"Some products are just dramatically changing [prices], like Procter & Gamble. Most of their products here are increasing like 30 to 70%, so it's crazy what's going on."

With so many international brands leaving, Konstantinova says she's got no choice but to buy local and wait this all out.

Cata Balzano
Global Staff Writer