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Long winter holidays expensive for Russia

Horse Sledge on the embarkment of the river Northern Dvina in Arkhangelsk. Photo: Andrey Shalyov

ARKHANGELSK: Russians are back to their jobs after Christmas. The economists and business analysts however continue to complain that these 20 extra days of vacations in January and in May bring a serious loss to the national economy.

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Economists say that in the result of holidays in January and May the federal budget may lose 200 billion rubles and the GDP will lose 1 trillion rubles. 

Russian people however are well satisfied with this unexpected gift from the government. According to the national polls 2/3 of them are happy to relax additionally to the annual vacation. Only 10 percent of population thinks that the New Year holidays are too long.

People in Russia love to spend more time at home in the families and overwhelming part of them spend New Year vacation in the places where they normally live. Despite of all stories about new Russians who occupy the fashionable resorts of Europe and Asia the polls state that only 4 percent of Russians go abroad for Christmas vacations. To say the truth this number doubled for the last 7 years. But over twice more Russians prefer to travel in the homeland visiting relatives and friends or spending time on the national resorts. Financial situation does not allow most of the families to make expensive trips to other countries. Also only 15% of Russians still have foreign passports that make possible to travel abroad.

Russians in general feel quite optimistic despite of all political turbulences of the last year. 55% of people think that 2012 year was positive for them personally and for their families. However 56% of them consider the last year was difficult for the country as a whole. People are even more optimistic looking at the year 2013. 69% of them hope that the started year will be positive for them personally but only 59% think that it will be good for Russia. 

New Year is one of two Russian most popular holidays (the second is the Victory Day in May) so the governmental decision to grant extra vacations attached to these two dates is very logic. In the beginning of May Russians spend time on their “dachas” outside the cities while winter holidays when they first have been introduced eight years ago gave them a lot of free time and many people found themselves unprepared how to use it. The number of fires, food and alcohol poisoning grew up catastrophically. Today the situation came normal and statistic does not register any sufficient growth in the number of emergency situations. People got accustomed to extra vacation in winter and use to plan their activity beforehand. 

According to the public opinion polls for 55% of Russian people winter holidays are most of all the time of visiting friends and relatives. Other popular pastimes are outing (29%), going to children’s fests (15%), sport activities (13%), leisure at clubs and restaurants (10%), cultural activity (9%). The local authorities are trying to fill the winter holidays with a number of cultural events, festivals, open-air concerts, sport arrangements etc.

Look for example how people spent their New Year and Christmas holidays in Arkhangelsk, the biggest Russian city in the Barents Region.