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Russia: Putin scraps New Year's holiday for ministers

Russia: Putin scraps New Year's holiday for ministers
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has called off New Year’s holidays for government ministers because of the country’s unfolding economic crisis.

Workers are normally off from the 1st to the 12th of January.

But Putin says the government cannot afford for ministers to take the holiday this time around.

Russia’s economy – battered by low oil prices and Western sanctions – is set to enter recession in 2015, for the first time in six years.

The ruble is now worth less than half of its value.

Moscow shoppers are divided on how it will affect them.

“We’re worried, not afraid, but worried that our pensions won’t be enough to buy all we need,” said pensioner Anna Nikitina.

Another resident, Alexander, added: “I don’t see a point in panicking or worrying, we’ll get all the food we need now and we will rest until the end of the holidays.”

Amid rising inflation, Putin has asked his government to freeze prices on vodka.

It is the most popular alcoholic drink among Russians, especially during the holiday season.