Finally, I offer a comment on the shuttered street level shops and mall tenants that have been gleefully reported by Western journalists: yes, major Western branded stores have closed down, not all, but a great many. Their loss is felt on the most prestigious shopping streets and malls, where they bought market share for their products by lavish spending on promotion, including prestige premises. However, outside these limited addresses, one does not see gaps in the street level stores in Petersburg. I see more empty store fronts in shopping streets in Brussels than here.
And more specifically:
This store chain [Azbuka Vkusa] puts the previous tenant to shame. The sheer variety and luxury of the present offering in fresh produce, cheeses, meats, fish, tinned conserves of all varieties is stunning. The fresh fish section offers swordfish from Sri Lanka, wild salmon from the Faroe Islands (presumably Russian caught), some unidentified white sea fish from Egypt, and dorade from Turkey. In a tank, there is a two kilogram live Kamchatka King Crab waiting for a buyer at 200 euros. Live oysters in another tank are brought from both Crimea (large) and from the Far East (very large). Farmed mussels are brought in from Crimea.