Thousands of Russians Stranded as Tour Companies Go Bankrupt

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Thousands of vacationing Russians have found themselves suddenly stranded. Several large Russian travel agencies have declared bankruptcy in recent weeks, leaving their customers stuck in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Spain, and Bulgaria without tickets to return home. Orenburg Airlines, citing longstanding unpaid debts and slow payments, had canceled agreements with several tour operators in July and August, forcing the crisis. The latest company to go under, Labirint, shuttered Tuesday. That alone left as many as 27,000 Russians on holiday in the lurch, according to a government tourism agency. Labirint blamed the crumbling value of the ruble and the "negative political and economic situation." Punitive sanctions levied by the EU and the West are starting to impact everyday Russians. Moscow announced a full embargo on foreign food imports from several countries on Thursday. Russian prosecutors have launched an investigation into the collapsed companies. Some of the tourists will be able to file insurance claims for compensation. For others, the Russian State Tourism Agency said some will be eligible for a free holiday in Sochi.

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- Ben Popken

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