Rich Russians Eat Caviar, Ask #Whatcrisis as Economy Plummets

Russia's economy shrank for the first time in five years and the value of the ruble dropped another 5 percent Monday.

Caviar
Caviar Bloomberg

A recession may be looming in Russia, as the economy shrank for the first time in five years and the value of the ruble dropped another 5 percent Monday, but that's not stopping wealthy Russians from eating expensive caviar – and posting images on Instagram with the hashtag #whatcrisis.

To be sure, most Russians are not taking part in the trend, as many poorer Russians are struggling to repay loans and mortgages after taking lower-interest foreign currency-denominated mortgages in the years before the financial crisis, AFP reports.

The government of President Vladimir Putin, which has been scrambling to support the ruble and the economy, announced fresh steps to keep the country's banks afloat.

The ruble has been one of the world's worst performing currencies this year and was down another 5 percent on Monday, trading at 56 rubles per dollar in early afternoon in Moscow, wiping off some of the gains it made last week.

The fall came as the Economic Development Ministry issued a report showing the economy shrank by 0.5 percent in November compared with a year earlier. The ministry attributed the year-on-year decline in the economy, Russia's first in five years, to a sharp drop in manufacturing and investment.

The economy has been buffeted by a combination of lower prices for the country's crucial oil exports and the impact of Western sanctions.

The images are reminiscent of the Rich Kids of Tehran Instagram account that made headlines in October by purporting to show "the world how beautiful Tehran and people from Tehran are." Those photos featured Iranian youths flaunting Rolexes and Maseratis, sun-tanning by the pool and generally living the high-life.

The expansive media attention that account attracted evidently prompted its owners to delete the images.