AP PHOTOS: Russian malls half-empty after Western firms exit

Jun 3, 2022, 12:07 AM | Updated: 12:14 am
St. Basil's Cathedral and the Spasskaya Tower are reflected in a window of an almost empty and dark...

St. Basil's Cathedral and the Spasskaya Tower are reflected in a window of an almost empty and dark Burberry boutique, closed due to sanctions, inside the GUM department store in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. As Russia's military operation in Ukraine is entering its 100-day anniversary, life in Moscow and St. Petersburg remains largely normal, even as many Western retailers have left Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Life in Moscow and St. Petersburg remains largely normal as Russia’s military operation in Ukraine enters its 15th week.

People are out and about, enjoying the first rays of late spring sun; restaurants are full, and most seem to have forgotten about the panic that created long lines in front of ATMs and grocery stores in February and March.

However, some changes are visible – mostly those prompted by Western sanctions and a massive, unprecedented pullout of Western businesses that had become entrenched in the landscape of Russia’s daily life over three decades.

Dozens of foreign and international companies have withdrawn from the country, leaving behind half-empty malls and closed doors in places that once buzzed with customers. Popular clothing brands, both luxurious and affordable, coffee and fast-food chains became unavailable to many Russians.

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AP PHOTOS: Russian malls half-empty after Western firms exit