Party season hit by cash drought

Preparations are already under way in homes and offices across Russia for the country’s biggest national holiday – New Year. But celebrations are expected to be muted this year as the financial crisis starts to be felt in the business communit

Shows, champagne and presents. The New Year is fast approaching. Russians are gearing up once again to go into 2009 with a bang. But with the financial crisis starting to hurt, celebrations may be less noisy than usual.

Sergey Knyazev, who runs an event planning agency in Moscow, has already noticed the “party crunch”.

This year there will be 20 to 30 per cent fewer corporate parties than before the crisis. Many companies have decided to celebrate in the office, rather than at a restaurant or a club like in the past,” Knyazev says.

The Yule-tide trimming is happening not only in small companies. Large companies are realising the importance of responsible spending too.

Oleg Chernousov, the HR management Vice President of AKADO Group, says the downturn means “all expenses now have to be justified. We decided not to hold any large corporate parties even before it started.”

Even members of the Russian State Duma will be feeling less hung-over come New Year's Day.

Andrey Kovalyov is a deputy of the Moscow City Duma. When Kovalyov isn't passing new legislation he's on the road with his heavy metal band.

He has just returned from a tour of 100 Russian cities and says that he had to put on the concerts for free while bankrolling most of the tour from his own pocket.

My financial capabilities are shrinking. The crisis has affected everyone. I'm glad we bought that equipment earlier. Now, I probably wouldn't have done it,” said Kovalyov. 

So as the downturn starts to affect those who prefer Don Perignon to Moet et Chandon, we've yet to see how it will impact ordinary people – and their spending – this festive season.

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