There are well-off Muscovites ready to buy Western luxury cars, but there are not enough available. And while a local election for mayor took place as it normally would this month, many of the city's residents decided not to vote, with the result seemingly predetermined (a landslide win by the incumbent).
Almost 19 months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Muscovites are experiencing dual realities: The war has faded into background noise, causing few major disruptions, and yet it remains ever-present in their daily lives.
There is little anxiety among residents over the drone strikes that have hit Moscow this summer, no alarm sirens to warn of a possible attack. When flights are delayed because of drone threats in the area, the explanation is usually the same as the one plastered on signs at the shuttered luxury boutiques of Western designers: "technical reasons."
"Just right now, in September, the prices rose tremendously," she said.
When asked about the biggest problems facing Russia, more than half the respondents in a recent poll by the independent Levada Center cited price increases. The war, known in Russia as the "special military operation," came in second, with 29%, tied with "corruption and bribery."
Island Packed With Migrants Tests Italy's Push to Halt Tide 小島反映義總理梅洛尼移民政策的挑戰
On Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, thousands of migrants crowded a reception center built for 600 as small boats hailing from Tunisia kept arriving. Outside Rome, a bus carrying migrants en route from Sicily to a center in the north crashed into a truck Friday, killing the drivers of both vehicles and injuring 19 migrants.
The huge challenges posed by immigration were in the spotlight again in Italy this week, undermining the efforts of the far-right ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to show that she had made progress in dissuading migrants from coming.
In the years leading up to her election last year, Meloni positioned herself as a hard-line opponent to migration, calling for a "naval blockade" and suggesting that the boats used to rescue migrants be sunk once the migrants were taken off them.
Since taking power, she has changed tactics, signing a European Union deal with Tunisia aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from that country and working with the bloc to facilitate the redistribution of those who do arrive across member states.
The events of this week showed the limitations of that approach, leaving her in a quandary similar to that of previous Italian governments. Now members of Meloni's coalition are asking her to take a tougher approach and saying that Italy needs more support from other European countries.
Most of the migrants landing in Italy this year set off across the Mediterranean from Tunisia, many in transit from other African countries.
Lampedusa, a rocky land mass surrounded by turquoise waters, with a population of about 6,000 people before the latest migrant surge, is 70 miles north of Tunisia and 130 miles south of Sicily. It has been the main destination for the growing numbers of migrants coming from Tunisia.