(Read full article on TheMoscowTimes.com)
The bustling center of downtown Moscow that was once full of shoppers and tourists is quieter and emptier since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the elite GUM shopping mall on Red Square, outlets for Western designer brands like Fendi and Louis Vuitton have shuttered because of corporate opposition to the war. Clothes, jewelry and other goods can still be seen inside the locked shops. But the mall’s nearly vacant corridors are still brightly lit and soundtracked by loud music.
Fifty days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, shopping streets like Stoleshnikov Lane are also eerily quiet, with nearly all of their famous brand stores closed — and few pedestrians.
“In the first days of the war, I went to the [Moscow] city center quite a lot,” said Alina, a young woman from Moscow who requested anonymity. “I noticed that almost nobody on the metro was smiling. There was this tense, depressing atmosphere. Everyone was in a sort of shock.”