When a missing egg sows discord in Russia

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LETTER FROM MOSCOW

On a market in Stavropol, in the south of Russia, in December 2014.
On a market in Stavropol, southern Russia, in December 2014. DANIL SEMYONOV / AFP

An egg was missing. Taken in a supermarket in Moscow, the image posted on January 10 on Twitter by Ramil Harrisov, calibrated from a box to keep nine eggs, instead of ten or twelve usually, lit the land. "Putin received Russia with ten eggs, he will leave nine of them", threw a surfer down. "If I were president, I put eleven eggs in my basket"another laughed. "Soon we will be able to buy the white of the yellow color separately", joked a third.

The absence of an egg in its delicate bowl has not only caused sarcasm; in just a few days, it is both indicative of growing concerns about the state of the Russian economy for the coming months, the harbinger of a return to inflation, and the symbol of discontent, in short, "The most important political issue in the country"as the independent newspaper wrote Novaya Gazeta.

Announcement of difficult times

As a result, the price of eggs in December 2018 increased by 25.9% over the previous year, according to the official statistical agency Rostat. But the reduced conditioning published by the young Ramil is interpreted on a wider scale as the cynical announcement of difficult times. Take effect on 1st January, the increase in VAT from 18% to 20% announced at the kickoff of the World Cup in June 2018, together with the reform hated the extension of retirement, feeds the anger.

Read also Russia: the unpopular pension reform adopted in second reading

"This copy of the egg hit the people a lot as a sign of a price increase that has become concrete in the stores"says economist Igor Nikolaev, director of the Institute for Strategic Analysis at an audit firm. But he continues, "It has been a long time since the packaging of grain has shrunk, although the costs have remained the same so far".

The food group Komos, on which the company Varaksino, producer of the famous accused eggs, World. "This packaging has been on the Russian market since March 2018. It has no influence on the price of the product, but remained stable throughout the yearhe says. This is not related to the VAT increase. "

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