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Central Asia Hurting as Russia’s Ruble Sinks

A butcher speaks to a customer on a market street in an Osh neighborhood in early October 2010. Prices for food and fuel are steadily rising in many Central Asian countries as the Russian ruble tumbles this year. (Photo: Dean C.K. Cox)

Pensioner Jyparkul Karaseyitova says she cannot afford meat anymore. At her local bazaar in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, the price for beef has jumped 9 percent in the last six weeks. And she is not alone feeling the pain of rising inflation. Butcher Aigul Shalpykova says her sales have fallen 40 percent in the last month. “If I usually sell 400 kilos of meat every month, in September I sold only 250 kilos,” she complained.
 
A sharp decline in the value of Russia’s ruble since early September is rippling across Central Asia, where economies are dependent on transfers from workers in Russia, and on imports too. As local currencies follow the ruble downward, the costs of imported essentials rise, reminding Central Asians just how dependent they are on their former colonial master.
 

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David Trilling is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor. Timur Toktonaliev is a Bishkek-based reporter.

Central Asia Hurting as Russia’s Ruble Sinks

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