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Moscow's Legendary Tsarist-Era Grocery Shop May Shut Down Due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Image credits: AFP.

Image credits: AFP.

For several days, social media users have been complaining of empty shelves and deserted aisles under the store's glistening chandeliers.

A historic grocery store operating in central Moscow for more than a century selling exotic foods in an ornate hall may soon close, Russian media reports said Tuesday. Eliseevsky’s general manager Natalia Kharitonova told state news agency TASS that the chain which operated the store “will end cooperation with Eliseevsky in April”.

She said they were negotiating with several potential new partners but Russian state media cited a representative of the store saying it will close on April 11.

When contacted by AFP, the store did not comment.

For several days, social media users have been complaining of empty shelves and deserted aisles under the store’s glistening chandeliers.

“Empty shelves at the Eliseevsky: we’ve never seen that, not even during the war” or during economic struggles after the fall of the Soviet Union, a report on state channel Rossiya 1 said last week.

The store is located in an 18th century building on the prestigious Tverskaya street, just hundreds of metres away from the Kremlin.

Founded in 1901 by wealthy merchant Grigory Eliseev, the store was popular with the nobility for its European wines and cheeses, and exotic fruits.

After the Soviets came to power it was renamed “Gastronom no1” but remained abundant with rare foods, even during the times of shortages.

In the early 1980s, its director was arrested as part of a corruption investigation, then sentenced to death and executed.

True to its historic past, customers today are served in the extravagant hall by staff dressed in vintage white and burgundy uniforms.

first published:April 05, 2021, 12:15 IST