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Russians defend ruble at tongue-in-cheek rally

The comic rally in defense of the ruble attempted to mirror the irony of Russia's economic conditions.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Feb. 1, 2016 at 11:25 AM

ROSTOV-ON-DON , Russia, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Performance artists in the Russian city of of Rostov-on-Don held a rally, laced with absurdity, in support of the weakened ruble.

Western economic sanctions prompted by Russia's annexation of Crimea and military involvement in Ukraine and a steep decline in the price of Russia's biggest export, oil, have caused the Russian ruble to lose almost a quarter of its value, dropping from about 63 to the dollar in August 2015 to 75 to the dollar. It reached 81 to the dollar on January 20, 2016. With it have come hardship and an economic recession in Russia.

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Activists in Rostov-on-Don, a city of about one million in southern Russia, offered a monstration, or performance art piece masquerading as a demonstration, in support of the ruble Saturday. They carried satiric signs reading "Je suis ruble," or "I am the ruble," "Thank God I'm alive" and "The ruble hasn't fallen, only slipped. On a piece of salo," referring to the pork fat known in America as fatback.

"We wanted to hold this kind of a jocular action, because one can no longer watch without humor the condition into which the authorities have driven the economy. We wanted city residents to look at the signs, and, feeling the irony, consider the question of which actions of the government have put the ruble into such a pitiful state, remember Crimea and the Donbass (eastern Ukraine), tensions in relations with all the neighbors and partners, and everything else that has led to sanctions and an economic collapse," rally organizer Yana Goncharova told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian service Svoboda.

The rally was permitted by authorities, and was conducted without incident.

A similar performance in Rostov-on-Don, in November 2015, derided attempts by Russian politicians to blame the West for Russia's internal problems.

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