Welcome to Russia, its 2013 and the start of the annual 10 day public holiday.
I often wonder why my country (the UK) doesn’t have a 10 day holiday over Christmas and New Year? Many British employers begrudge any and every holiday. Some of my English friends are lucky to get Christmas day and New Years day off.
Despite the long holiday Russia is still doing very well economically. The latest estimates are for 3.7% GDP growth over Jan-Oct 2012, which far outpaces anything seen in the Eurozone. The UK will be lucky to see 0.5% growth for 2012.
All Russians love new year and the time off is wonderful for spending with family, going skiing or walking in the snow in the forest or just staying at home and relaxing.
Even though its cold, the days are bright and cheerful as the sun reflects off the snow, and when you are wrapped up well enough you hardly feel the cold.
Putin has just signed a new law allowing 5 year business visas. There isn’t a great deal of info about the new visas but I expect they will be rather more difficult to obtain than the usual 3 months -1 year business visa. A 5 year visa would be a blessing for itinerant English teachers and other vagrants with Russian wives.
In other news Easyjet announced plans to start flying Manchester to Moscow. They have also won the right to operate from London Gatwick to Moscow. Whether Moscow will become yet another favourite city for the stag do crowd is debatable, as visa rules will mean more expense and planning than just popping off to Prague or Riga.