Stanislav Usaty, owner of a marketing agency in St. Petersburg, said he expected to lose many of his clients to the higher exchange rate, especially businesses selling imports; he said he would probably need to lay off staff. Aleksandra Gridina, owner of a travel agency in the city, said she would have to raise prices for international tours her customers had already booked.
“It’s a disaster for our business,” she said.
Yet while there was confusion at subway turnstiles and lines formed at ATMs and banks, there was no full-fledged financial panic among the general public. And it was far from clear if the sanctions would help turn more Russians against the war – or if they would only increase their resentment towards the West, confirming the Kremlin’s narrative that the United States and the Europe were determined to dismantle their country.
“Times are changing, a lot has happened, but one thing has not changed,” a reporter from the official Rossiya 24 news channel said on Sunday. “When a united Europe tried to destroy Russia , it has always led to the opposite result.”
The backbone of Mr. Putin’s power are security officials who rarely leave Russia and stand to gain from increased state control over the economy. In the general public, he draws his essential support from retirees and state employees, who are less sensitive to economic volatility than those in the private sector.
Shopping in Moscow on Monday, Valentina V. Petrova, 85, who said she worked on Russia’s Proton space rockets, said economic troubles had not fazed her.
“I think the president did everything right,” she said.
Mr. Petrov, the engineer who flew to Egypt, said his parents also supported the war. And older Russians, he noted, had had their share of ups and downs.