Romanian vlogger, after 30 days in Russia: “I like it, but I wouldn't move here. We should not judge a people by the actions of a few people”

Vlogger Cosmin Avram drew his conclusions after living in Russia for 30 days. He was amazed that some things are very different from how they are presented in the West, such as the fact that all the big brands have left, and he believes that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

International brands such as Guess, Rolex, Armani remained in the malls in Russia. PHOTO: Capture

After spending a month in Russia and making several videos about life in big cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg and talking with Romanians settled in the neighboring country, but also with Russians, vlogger Cosmin Avram reached the moment of conclusions.

One of the topics addressed in the latest clip from Russia is to what extent international sanctions have had any negative effect on the lives of Russians.

One aspect that has been talked about a lot in the press is the poaching of the country by big brands. Statistics show that more than 1,000 foreign companies have left or suspended operations in Russia since the start of the war.

“I arrived in Moscow almost a month ago. I had the chance to talk to a lot of people, many of them Romanians, Moldovans, and when I brought this topic up, the opinions are divided. Many say no. Big brands have not left Russia, they are still active here. On the other hand, there are also people who say that yes, they left the country. Well, in this clip we will see how things really are. We will go to the door of the brands. We knock on the door, see if they open or not-said the vlogger.

McDonald's made in Russia

Avram found a former McDonald's restaurant that remained unchanged except for the name. It is owned by a Russian businessman.

“Inside, everything is intact, unchanged. I don't know the quality of the burgers if it's the same, because I haven't eaten before, I haven't tried it. But the interior, as you can see, looks perfect. And European brands such as Mohito are now owned by Chinese companies under a different name“, explained the vlogger.

Burger King, on the other hand, stayed with the same brand. So is KFC, which is operating normally in the Russian capital.

The vlogger found a former Starbucks location turned into “Stars Coffee”.

The European Union has imposed massive and unprecedented sanctions against Russia following its war against Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Donetsk, Luchansk, Zahorojia and Kherson regions.

“From what I read on the official website of the European Union, the purpose of the economic sanctions is to impose severe consequences on Russia for its actions and to effectively prevent Russia's ability to continue its aggression“, specified Avram.

Ordinary people are not affected

Avram claimed that from the discussions he had, he came to the conclusion that ordinary people are not really affected by these sanctions. “Instead, big companies, big brands are affected. Some were forced to close their activity, others to change their owners. The swift system has been blocked. So, Master card and Visa cards work in Russia only if they were issued by a Russian bank. Once you've left the country, it stops working. The same thing happens in our case”he explained.

Avram visited several shopping centers and pedestrian areas known for the stores located here to see if the big brands remained in Russia. The bottom line: some stayed, some didn't.

Adidas stores seen have a notice at the entrance stating that retail store, website and app operations have been suspended due to the restrictions. The same ad also appeared at Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Tiffany, Bulgari, Hermes, Prada, etc. stores.

Avram believes that these big companies are still paying rent, even though the stores are closed, because if they left for good, the logo would no longer be displayed on these buildings. In addition, from a distance you cannot tell that the shops are closed, because they are lit and decorated, with various products in the windows. “It's only when you get closer that you see they're closed. This is the reason why many press people told me that these brands did not leave”the vlogger also said.

Other brands, such as Phillipp Plein, Max Mara, Rolex, Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Lacoste – continue to work.

Mall guards in Romania, stricter than those in Russia

While walking in a commercial area of ​​Moscow, Avram noted that this is not the first time he has seen elderly people begging. “I am here too, and nowadays, when it comes to begging, it is very difficult to tell if that person really needs help or is placed in that place by certain individuals. Because over time I have seen a lot of things. It is a subject as sensitive as it is controversial“, he detailed.

Avram entered a large shopping center in front of the Kremlin in Moscow, and to do so he had to pass through a metal detector. “There are people watching everywhere, only the people are quiet, if you mind your own business, they have nothing to do with you. And here the same security control. You simply can't enter anywhere in this city without going through that kind of security check, whether we're talking about the subway or the mall,” he explained.

Avram noted a difference compared to shopping centers in Romania. “At our place, in a shopping center, if you film immediately the guards come and jump on you and kick you out. While here people are armed and looking at you, they make room for you. I will never understand why we can't. Here you pass with the camera filming through the metal detector”.

Avram also filmed in a very large mall in St. Petersburg. “We explore each floor in a hurry. I'm curious if there are any differences between the two cities. Hugo Boss is closed here, although there are clothes in the window, Armani is open without problems. It also has discounts. Boggi is open. Lacoste – open. Guess – open, Pinko – open. Tommy Hilfiger open. The common man enters these shopping centers, sees all the brands open, sees that he can buy from anywhere, then activates his VPN or enters to read the international press. There he sees that they have all left. What else to believe?“, commented Avram.

Romanian from Russia: “we started to live better since the sanctions”

Avram spoke to several Romanians/Moldovans in Russia about how they felt about the sanctions. One of them told him: “Since the sanctions, we have started to live better. Many Russian products have replaced imported products“. He argued, however, that there was nothing good about the sanctions. “It just so happened that we didn't feel it. 1,800 sanctions were against Russia. Many brands have left Russia. Car brands left, Volkswagen, Audi, they all left, but we didn't feel it. I got my Nissan and I like it even more. It also has German and Japanese technologies“, he said. The man believes that those who kept money outside of Russia suffered.

“The truth is always somewhere in the middle”

“As a conclusion, after 30 days in Russia, I can say that people, most people, really, are censored. At least that's my personal opinion. They're a bit disconnected from what's happening outside of Russia, both online and offline.”Avram also said.

He took the example of Tiktok, which in Russia is totally different from what we have in Europe or in another corner of the world. “Having a Russian card in my phone, my tiktok is totally totally different from the one Andreea sees. Here you can't do live, there are no donations, there are not many things”he specified.

Avram is of the opinion that the moment a person goes to Russia, travels, sees and understands certain things, he can change his opinion about the West. “Because not everything that happens outside Russia is good, of course, everything that happens inside Russia is good. The point is that propaganda works. People here get certain information, those in Europe, America get other information, and the truth is always somewhere in the middle“, concluded the vlogger.

“I like Russia, but I don't agree with what Russia is doing”

He believes that we cannot blame ordinary people for what is happening in Ukraine.

“Simple people, people in general are not guilty of this, because they know so much, they know so much. I don't agree with what Russia is doing, I said that in Ukraine as well, I repeat, but as far as I can see, a lot of people make me pro-Russian, when I was in Ukraine, I was pro-American and so on. From my point of view, ordinary people are not to blame. I don't think we should judge a people by the actions of a few people. It doesn't seem fair to me, but that's life, that's how humanity works it seems. Sad but true“, he detailed.

Avram claims that he likes Russia and will return: “I told you, I love the country. I want to come back in the summer. Not now, I don't want winter anymore, I don't want this cold anymore, maybe I only want cold when we decide to go to Siberia. I like Russia and I will come back”.

The vlogger claimed that he met extraordinary people in Russia, like everywhere in the world, and it was a pleasure to meet each of them individually. “Ahow, if you were to ask me, would you like to live in Russia? I can tell you honestly as always: No. I can't see myself living in this country. (…) For me, at least, Romania and Italy remain the countries where I see myself living in the long term”he concluded.