Russian cities cancel New Year celebrations to save money for war

Authorities in several Russian cities have canceled fireworks displays and pledged to send money to the front rather than purchase New Year decorations, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on Dec. 8.

Various officials have pledged to scale back traditional holiday festivities in order to purchase military equipment to supply Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Sochi Mayor Alexey Kopaygorodsky said funds allocated for fireworks would be redirected to the Russian military. He also called on local businesses and residents to follow suit.

"This will be the best gift for our fellow countrymen on the front lines," Kopaygorodsky said.

Andrey Kravchenko, the mayor of Novorossiysk, also announced that his city would cancel its New Year's Eve fireworks display and use the money saved to send equipment to the front. The mountain city of Nalchik pledged not to buy any new holiday decorations this year. City authorities plan to repurpose decorations from past years.

Similar plans are in place throughout Russia, including Volzhskiy in Volgograd Oblast, Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia-Alania, and the southern region Stavropol Krai.

Business Insider reported last year that many Russian cities canceled New Year festivities in order to redirect money to the military in the first year of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Officials in Moscow and St. Petersburg canceled holiday fireworks shows.

Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of Krasnodar Krai, said that fireworks had been banned in the region outright in 2022. He urged residents not to launch fireworks over this year's holidays, but said displays would not be outlawed altogether.

Russia plans to spend about a third of its budget on the military in 2024. Funding the war amid crippling Western sanctions and soaring inflation has put Russia's economy under enormous strain.

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