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Baikonur Residents Say Falling Ruble Taking Its Toll

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

Local residents who work at the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facility in Kazakhstan say the decline of the Russian ruble is eroding their living standards.

Many residents of Baikonur and the nearby villages of Toretam and Aqai work at the launch facility and are paid in rubles.

The ruble has lost more than 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar this year, hit by falling oil prices and sanctions imposed on Russia by the West over its aggression in Ukraine.

The Kazakh tenge has remained stable and residents said a monthly salary of 10,000 rubles now buys about 30,000 tenge, down from 50,000 a few months ago.

Roza Daribaeva, who works for a Russian company in Baikonur, told RFE/RL that the ruble's decline and rising food prices are making life in the remote city more "miserable."

Russia has rented and administered Baikonur, its only existing facility for manned space launches, since the Soviet collapse.