'The end of an era': Ikea, Russia's middle class and the new Cold War

The exodus of Western brands could fuel opposition to Vladimir Putin or deepen nationalist anger at the West

Ikea announced this month that it was shutting down its stores in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. PHOTO: REUTERS
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(FINANCIAL TIMES) - Svetlana Shapovaliants vividly remembers visiting the first Ikea store in Russia, shortly after it opened in 2000.

At the time, she and her husband were in their 20s and living in a "terrible" apartment in Ryazanskiy Prospekt in Moscow. She spent 4,000 roubles - "something like a third of my salary" - on a bunch of items including "some awful blue plates" that she still has.

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