OC man who teaches English in Russia seeing impact of sanctions firsthand

An Orange County man who travels the world teaching people to speak English is watching firsthand how Russians are dealing with economic sanctions issued by the United States and other countries.

Chris, who doesn’t want us to use his last name, has been teaching in Moscow for the past seven-and-a-half years. He spoke with Eyewitness News online and would not address any political questions.

“I have to be careful what I say,” he said, worried about possible blowback from the school where he works.

The invasion of Ukraine has turned Russia into an international pariah and its economy is now battered due to global sanctions. Chris says he has witnessed firsthand how stores are starting to run out of many items, and how many Russians just shrug it off.

“Merchandise and products are slowly, like, going away, disappearing and not being re-shelfed,” he said. “But Russians are like, ‘Whatever, we’ll make it ourselves.”

The United States has been very visibly at the forefront of the sanctions and the NATO response, but Chris says he hasn’t noticed any ill will toward him since the invasion. He feels safe, and even though many of his fellow teachers have already left Russia or will be going soon, Chris said it’s not due to safety concerns.

“None of them want to go to work every day and make rubles,” said Chris about the crumbling Russian currency.

The exodus of teachers means an even bigger workload for Chris, but he says he’s willing to tough it out in exchange for his front-row seat in Moscow.

“This is kind of a historical thing going on here, economically, with the sanctions and all that, so I kind of want to experience what’s going to happen here. So I’m going to stick it out here.”

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