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Learning English - Words in the News
11 January, 2008 - Published 15:02 GMT
Holiday cost in Russia
President Putin and Father Frost in Veliky Ustyug

Russia has resumed its daily routine after its long break for New Year and Orthodox Christmas. Russian media have been trying to add up the cost of the lengthy lay-off: one newspaper says the holiday has cost the country some 2 per cent of GDP. This report from James Rodgers:

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Russia is struggling sluggishly back to work. Their lengthy annual holiday begins on New Year's Eve, and finishes only after Orthodox Christmas, which falls on January the 7th in the contemporary calendar.

While the vast majority of Russians seem to enjoy the long break, some dissenting, questioning voices can also be heard. Official figures of the cost to the economy won't be published until later, but one tabloid - incidentally in its first edition of the New Year, the papers here get a long time off too - has been trying to do the sums. Komsomolskaya Pravda quotes an expert who estimates that the New Year break cost the Russian economy more than 20 billion dollars, or 2 per cent of GDP.

Many Russians are adding up their own personal outlay. Surveys carried out in December suggested that Russians are celebrating their country's economic growth by spending more on presents. They certainly need cash to enjoy the party. A place at a New Year's Eve dinner in even a modest Moscow restaurant this year cost well in excess of 100 dollars.

James Rodgers, BBC News, Moscow

Listen to the words

struggling sluggishly back to work
slowly beginning to work again but without much enthusiasm or energy

falls on
is marked/celebrated on

dissenting, questioning voices can also be heard
not everyone in Russia thinks a long break over Christmas is a good idea; some people strongly disagree with the idea and are asking publicly why this is happening

a type of popular newspaper with smaller pages which has many pictures and short simple reports

this adverb is used to say that something is connected to, although is less important than, the main subject of a talk/conversation/report

time off
here, holiday, leave

to do the sums
here, to calculate the impact on the economy, to count losses

short for Gross Domestic Product - the total value of goods and services produced by a country in a year

here, the amount of money many Russians spent to prepare for and celebrate the New Year and Christmas

well in excess of
a lot more than

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