Russia–Surviving Another Economic Crisis

HOT SOUP–Provided daily by The Salvation Army nourishes the hungry at two of Moscow’s train stations.

by Captain Jennifer Fagerstrom – 

Who would have dreamed that a free market economy–a democratic society–would leave so many people starving to death? That’s the question that thousands of people all over Russia are asking.

For many of the younger generation, it is something they believe will pass. But for the elderly, it is another crisis–one they question whether or not they will survive.

The August economic crisis struck with a heavy blow that has crushed the pensions of the elderly. Pensions once worth an average of $67 in August are now worth less than $20. Prices have skyrocketed and $20 will buy only a few basics of bread and milk.

These proud people now dig through trash bins in hopes of finding glass bottles to redeem or beg in the subways for even a few kopeks. These are the individuals The Salvation Army in Russia is trying to help.

The Moscow Social Services program has a daily feeding program at two local train stations where more and more of these elderly are coming to be fed. They also visit the local Salvation Army Senior Center in downtown Moscow. This is the one place where they can find friends and fellowship–they can forget the frustration of daily living for a short while.

Siege survivors meet every Monday in the St. Petersburg Social Service Center for worship services and support. They share their struggles of half a century after the blockade and their new struggles in the latest round of crises in Russia.

Thousands of seniors are fed around the country through Salvation Army programs every day, but thousands more are still hungry. It is only through the support of World Services that these programs can continue to provide for needy seniors. It is through the wealth of others that the poor of Russia will survive yet another crisis.

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