Russians celebrated Orthodox Christmas with fears about the weak rouble still at the forefront of many people’s minds. On Wednesday morning, the rouble was trading at more than 63 to the dollar, compared with a rate of 33 on Orthodox Christmas last year. The rouble briefly fell to a low of nearly 80 to the dollar in December before rallying in the second half of the month. However, the new year has seen another slide as the price of oil continues to slump. President Vladimir Putin, who last month told Russians not to panic about the difficult economic conditions, made his first public appearance of the year at a midnight mass in the city of Voronezh. He attended a service at a church that has provided shelter for children fleeing the conflict in east Ukraine. The president, wearing a brown jumper, stood surrounded by children during the service. In Moscow, the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, attended a service at the main Christ the Saviour Cathedral with his wife. Russians, along with other Orthodox Christians, celebrate Christmas on 7 January in accordance with the Julian calendar, which was replaced in most of the world with the Gregorian calendar 500 years ago…. Read full this story
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