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Russia

Beauty, Russia's Recession-Proof Industry

Despite the ruble's freefall, a shaky economy and growing international isolation, cosmetics companies and the beauty industry at large can rest easy that Russian women will buy what they're selling.

In Lipetsk, Russia
In Lipetsk, Russia
Anastasia Yakoreva, Nina Vazhdaeva

MOSCOW — Given the economic crisis and the ruble's freefall, managers of major international cosmetic brands are in a panic, fearing that the Russian beauty market will implode. And it would be an enormous loss. Researchers recently reported that the average Russian woman spends as much on cosmetics as the average Italian woman, despite earning only a quarter as much. There are also twice as many Russian women as Italian women.

But if past Russian crises are any indication, cosmetics manufacturers have little reason to worry. According to economics researchers, the cosmetics industry in Russia emerged from the 2008 global economic crisis without any losses.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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