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IANS

From shopping malls to corporate boardrooms, Russians were trying to find their footing in what the Kremlin described as the "altered economic reality" that the country was now facing following sanctions on Russia's Central Bank and other key financial institutions, The Guardian reported.

There were signs that something extraordinary was taking place: the Moscow Exchange, Russia's largest stock market, has halted trading until March 5.

With its reserves frozen, the Central Bank announced it would more than double its main interest rates to 20 per cent, the highest this century, and force major exporting companies, including large energy producers like Gazprom and Rosneft, to sell 80 per cent of their foreign currency revenues, effectively buying roubles to prop up the currency rate.

But that did little to calm the frayed nerves at the Metropolis Mall in Moscow, where there were signs that Russians were rushing to turn their cash into consumer goods before prices leapt up, The Guardian reported.

If there was shock on the streets, then the mood among the business community was even more sour. Several owners of mid-sized companies said that the invasion and subsequent isolation of Russia had made their businesses unprofitable overnight.

Even top Russian business people, including the powerful oligarchs, appeared to be unsettled by the instability ushered in by the invasion, as well as the extraordinary measures being taken to prop up the rouble, the report said.

For many Russians, who felt themselves to be European by the food they ate and the way they lived, it's clear that Monday marked a moment when the war came home.

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