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Modern-day slavery

Modern-day slavery

At the end of 2014, the exchange rate of the ruble against US dollar and Euro in Russia fell by more than two times, which put thousands of families, who took foreign currency mortgages at the banks, on the brink of survival . Worried people took to the streets, the All-Russian movement of foreign currency mortgage holders arose, which launched a struggle for the restructuring of foreign currency loans that became unbearable.

At that time it seemed that this fight could be won. Everyone hoped that the immediate culprit of the Russia’s 2014 financial meltdown – the state – would take at least part of the responsibility for this problem and somehow help people in need. But the state turned its back on its citizens and left them face to face with the banks. Well, after certain time they created a so called federal aid programme for people with foreign currency mortgages, but it turned out to be a farce. And as for the banks – they did not give up a penny. The courts also sided with them. As a result of this unequal struggle, many families lost their mortgage housing and literally ended up on the street.

But at this Moscow rally – one of the first – its participants were still full of hope and enthusiasm. We see smiles on the faces of people who are confident that everything that happened is some kind of ridiculous misunderstanding that is about to be resolved. Activists who spoke from the rostrum urged those gathered to unite, sign a collective petition to the government, and besiege banks together.

After many months of struggle, it became clear that the forces were too unequal. Many lost in this struggle not only apartments, but also health, and some died. The movement crumbled, the banks won and the State had completely withdrawn from this problem. And the expression “Slave to the foreign currency mortgage” got rid of quotes and remained in the history of Russia as a real form of slavery at the beginning of the 21st century.

 

Moscow, 2015 – 2020
All images and text © Oleg Kolimbet

Jolly Patrick
«Baracholka» as a journey to the USSR

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