Buy coffee for Ukrainians
On administrative buildings and not only – Ukrainian flags hang almost everywhere. For some reason I didn’t notice them the first few days. Until a familiar Moldovan who often comes to Prague opened my eyes: “If you walk in the center, turn your head and you will see Ukrainian flags on the facades. The state symbol of the square hangs even in Wenceslas Square on the building of the National Museum. Then I noticed a small Ukrainian flag on the windowsill outside my hotel window.
Photo: Olga Voskresenskaya<p class=””>At the Florenc bus station on stands, benches, announcements in Russian and Ukrainian, offering help in finding a job (packaging of chocolates, manufacture of car parts). In the metro, going down the escalator, it is impossible not to notice the yellow and blue banners informing about direct flights from Prague to Ukrainian cities – Kiev, Vinnitsa, Lviv, Khmelnitsky, Ternopil.
Even when Leghii wanted to buy a cup of coffee near the bridge, to the right of the window, his eyes tore out an inscription in small pieces on a tablet: you can buy coffee for Ukrainians (you can buy coffee for Ukrainians ).
And on many theaters’ websites, it’s officially reported that all proceeds from performances will go to help you guess where. Even in stores of well-known European brands that left Russia, prices are indicated on price tags, including in hryvnia. Of course, they cannot be paid. Rather, for convenience, to facilitate the navigation of Ukrainians in the prices of goods.
From Prague – to Voronezh
After I return home, everyone asks me: how do they treat Russians in the Czech Republic now? In Prague, we did not manage to meet a single Russian to tell him about it. I was in the capital of the Czech Republic for only a few days and did not encounter an open negative attitude towards myself, neither in the hotel where I lived, nor in cafes or shops. Once, only in the historic center of Prague, opposite the Smetana hall, I saw a leaflet tightly stuck on a pole, urging Russians to leave Prague. The text printed on the leaflet read: “Why do you need Prague? Go to Voronezh!”. This is most likely a provocation by Ukrainian nationalists. Czechs are unlikely to know where Voronezh is.
By the way, before you could easily exchange rubles for Czech crowns at any exchange office in Prague or in a hotel. Now in only one exchange office I came across such an offer by chance: for 100 rubles you can buy 30 crowns. And I also suddenly encountered an innovation in currency exchange: for Russians, the daily limit is one thousand dollars/euros. This is such discrimination!
When I was flying from Prague to Helsinki, I decided to ask my travel companion Vera about the attitude towards Russians in the Czech Republic. When, after boarding a Finnair plane, I heard a woman in the next row talking in Russian with her son on the phone, I was terribly happy with my compatriot and asked his neighbor to change space with me. So Vera and I talked the whole flight.
Photo: Olga Voskresenskaya
She said she moved to the Czech Republic in the 1990s after her husband, who opened a business in Prague. She worked as an English teacher, so she quickly found a job as a tour guide. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there are almost no tourists. And since February of last year, finding a job has become even more difficult. “With difficulty, thanks to acquaintances, I found a job in a jewelry store in March last year. I was well received in the team. Even the hostess from Ukraine was friendly,” Vera shares with me. . But at first a Czech colleague even started to attack me and demand that I resign. Now the passions have subsided, but we still don’t talk.”
Her son is studying at a state university, he knows Czech well. Vera says the guy doesn’t see any aggressive attacks in his direction from his comrades. Admittedly, he communicates outside the house mainly in English or Czech. Students only discuss the increase in the cost of living in university residences announced since July. The reasons are the same everywhere: rising costs.
A cup of coffee for the price of a bottle of Merlot
In the Czech Republic, life becomes more expensive almost every week! Since the beginning of this year, the prices of products here have increased by 25%. This is noticed by both visitors, guests of Prague and local residents. Sugar has doubled in price, eggs by 75%, milk by 50%. So, in an economy-class store, a kilogram of chicken breast without skin on the bone costs 139.90 crowns (528 rubles), a kilogram of onions costs 37.90 (144 rubles). And the fish is usually like a helicopter! A piece of salmon fillet (150 gr) – 279 crowns (1060 rubles), a kilogram of cod fillet – 210.33 crowns (about 800 rubles). Czechs constantly monitor promotions, store advertisements are regularly published on telegram channels.
Photo: Olga Voskresenskaya
But what was my surprise when I saw a bottle of Merlo wine (0.75) for 46.90 (178 rubles) in the popular Lidl store in the Czech Republic. Compare, a standard glass (150 ml) of Americano almost everywhere in Prague cafes costs 70-75 crowns (266-285 rubles). Yes, wine in the Czech Republic is cheap. And, of course, they know how to brew beer here. The price of a foamy draft drink for a half-liter cup is 52-60 crowns (about 200 rubles).
In the capital of the Czech Republic, it’s not just the products that are expensive. A trip on the metro will cost 40 crowns (152 rubles). But most of all, people are outraged that a liter of gasoline began to cost about 50 crowns (190 rubles). True, at a gas station I saw AI-95 at 38.95 per liter. But that was way beyond Prague.
The adviser to the Czech Prime Minister, Stepan Krzecek, is remembered for suggesting to all those who were not satisfied with the price of food to go to Poland.
Such statements only add fuel to the fire. The people of Prague are outraged by the indifference of the authorities, they go almost every month to anti-government rallies in Wenceslas Square. Demonstrators have repeatedly tried to tear the flag of Ukraine from the building of the National Museum. So, now in Prague, the scandal with the dean of the VSE Miroslav Shevchik, who was almost fired because of his participation in an anti-government rally, when they tried to remove the Ukrainian flag from the museum building, only still not calmed down. The story is not over yet.
In order to somehow extinguish popular discontent, a number of Czech companies hastened to announce that they would start raising wages. So, according to the Pozor telegram channel! Brno, for Skoda employees, the union agreed to raise wages by 10.1% from April. Hyundai’s Nošovice plant is expected to increase base wages by 11.7% from April and plans to add another 7.8% from next year.
Recently, many people in the Czech Republic were confused by reports that a photo appeared in government accounts asking them to “set the alarm clock” at 11:05 11:55.
AX hour, it became clear that the government had prepared three austerity measures. In particular, the retirement age will be revised.
Photo: Olga Voskresenskaya
p class=””>The Czechs already seem to have switched to austerity. One of the days in Prague, returning from a morning walk, I met a local hard worker who came from a “Vietnamese” (popular Asian shops in the Czech Republic). In his transparent bag were several rokhliks (the most economical baked goods resembling mini-loaves, the price is 3 crowns (11 rubles), and the cheapest instant noodles. That’s how I discovered the secret to an economical Czech lunch.
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