Russia: frustration in an egg carton
A flood of jokes, photo-shopped images and memes is circulating online in Russia after a major manufacturer started selling egg cartons with nine instead of the usual ten eggs. A rise in VAT and stagnating real incomes are apparently fuelling discontent among the country's citizens. Russian commentators take the egg hype seriously.
Not just one egg missing
The story has is making waves because it hits a nerve with the already strained citizens, sociologist Ella Paneyach explains in Vedomosti:
“This is all about questions of respect, justice and trust. About who bears the consequences of economic problems. And about an inability to tell the truth even on trifling matters. The VAT hike could have even hit people harder if it weren't for the fact that the official inflation rate is lower than expected. But the price hike at the start of the year has clearly had an unpleasant impact on the daily spending of the price-conscious average city dweller. ... There is a crisis of trust in Russia. And not because part of it suddenly disappeared, but because there is no real trust anyway.”
Jokes are a symptom of simmering tensions
The egg jokes should serve as a warning to the Kremlin, writes journalist Yegor Sedov in a Facebook post reprinted by newsru.com:
“Ever since the 1990s people have entertained the very strange notion that in the West 'status' is enormously important. ... And the nouveau riche and rulers of the upper middle class copied this preoccupation with status wherever they could. But now they are taking a fall. And the very same people who until recently talked disparagingly about the 'plebs' are now hunting for special offers on food and trying to outdo each other with shrewd comments about the 'Putin eggs'. Their pointed remarks are reminiscent of the 'Brezhnev jokes' during the Soviet era which anticipated the uncomplaining farewell to the USSR. So the alarm bells are ringing for the Kremlin.”